Christian Churches of God

No. 45D

 

 

 

 

Sons of Ham: Part IV

 Phut

 

(Edition 1.5 20070902-20071008)

 

The sons of Phut are the most mysterious of the sons of Ham and the most misunderstood. The identity and location of his descendants are given in this paper.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ă 2007 Wade Cox & anor.)

 

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Sons of Ham: Part IV Phut


 

Introduction

In Genesis 10:6 and 1Chronicles 1:8, Phut or Put (RSV) is given as the third son of Ham. The Septuagint renders his name Phoud.

 

Genesis 10:6  The sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. (KJV)

 

In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus expands upon the list of Hams descendants and their areas of habitation.

 

Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the apellation of Phut: but the name it has now has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. (Bk. I, vi, 2)

 

There are very few references in Scripture to Phut (SHD 6316), a word of foreign origin meaning a bow, which suggests that these people were proficient archers along with their cousins the Ludim or Lydians, sons of Mizraim (Egypt). In Jeremiah 46:9 they are described as mighty men or warriors who handle the shield, and in this text appear to be operating as mercenaries in Egypt. In Isaiah 66:19, we also see the name Pul mentioned, which is either a tribe or place in Africa adjacent to or closely associated with Tarshish and Lud, and may in fact be a variant of Put.

 

Easton’s Bible Dictionary contains a very brief entry for ‘Phut’.

 

Phut is placed between Egypt and Canaan in Genesis 10:6, and elsewhere we find the people of Phut described as mercenaries in the armies of Egypt and Tyre (Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5; 27:10). In a fragment of the annuals of Nebuchadrezzar which records his invasion of Egypt, reference is made to "Phut of the Ionians."

 

The warlike nature of the men of Phut is seen in the Scripture concerning the city of Tyre (Ezek. 27:10), where once again they appear to be operating as mercenaries in its defence.

 

Ezekiel 27:10  "Persia and Lud and Put were in your army as your men of war; they hung the shield and helmet in you; they gave you splendor. (RSV)

 

Uniquely among the first patriarchs after Ham, no sons or grandsons of Phut are recorded in the Bible. However, the Book of Jasher gives the names of at least four sons, namely Gebul, Hadan, Benah and Adan (7:12).

 

Phutites and their location

There are varying opinions on the exact location of the land of Put. For instance, the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE), with reference to Babylonian writings, records that Put may be found in present-day Yemen (on the Arabian peninsula), formerly known as the land of Punt, or in Somalia (in east Africa).

 

Put

4. Identified with Punt:

The common identification of Put is the Egyptian Punt (or Pwent) proposed by Ebers. The assimilation of “n” to a following consonant is common in the Semitic languages, and would occasion no difficulty if the vocalization be found to agree. The final "t" of Punt, however, seems to be the Egyptian feminine ending, whereas the "T" of Put is radical.

 

5. Somaliland and Yemen:

Nevertheless, the district would seem to be rightly identified with the tract to the East of Abyssinia (Somaliland), and as it is described as being on both sides of the sea (the Red Sea), Yemen would seem to be included. In connection with this, it is worthy of note that a fragment of a Babylonian tablet referring to Nebuchadrezzar’s campaign in Egypt in his 37th year mentions, as though in the neighborhood, the city (here, apparently, standing for the district) of Putu-yaman—probably not "Ionian (Greek) Put" (Lesbos, according to Winckler), but "Put of Yemen."

 

If this be in contra-distinction to the district of Put (Punt) on the African mainland, the latter would be the Putu referred to in the Persian inscription of Naqsh-i-Rustem, which mentions, among the tributary-countries, Kushiya, Putiya and Masiya, in Babylonian (mat) PuTa, ((mat) K)usu, (mat) Massu(?), "the land Put, the land Kush (Ethiopia), the land Massu(?)." The soldiers of Put in the army of Tyre may have been either from the African or the Yemenite Put, in which case there was no northern tract of that name, unless settlements had been made at any time from the original district. See W. Max Muller, Asien und Europa, Leipzig, 1893, 106 ff.

 

Both locations, Yemen and Somalia, may be correct in terms of early settlements of the Phutites. However, most historians and commentators place the land of Phut firmly in North Africa.

 

However, The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, in its article on ‘Put’, discounts the connection with Punt on philological as well as historical grounds.

 

We are certain from the Bible and historical records that Put went into Africa with the southern Cushites, who became the Ethiopians. We know that the Haplogroup C movements of the northern Cushites went into Asia and formed the nucleus of the Mongols and Dravidians and Australian Aboriginals and Maori, as well as moving into the Americas forming the Nadene or Chippewa, Cheyenne and Apache, as well as moving south into the Maya. The Haplogoup C has its origins with the stem that forms Haplogroup B and we know that this Haplogroup was co-located with C and moved south into Central and West Africa. Thus B is a division of Cush, and from that basis there is only one Haplogroup left unaccounted for in Africa and that is YDNA Haplogroup A, which came from the north and moved right through to South Africa. These can be none other than the sons of Put. The Libyans are now a mix of Lybios, the son of Mizraim, and the Arabs. Mizraim was Hg E devolving to E3b and E3a. The Arabs are J, with some I.

 

We will note that these men are famed for wielding the shield but no mention is made of the spear. The African tribesmen use a shield with a staked end and a short stabbing weapon called an assegai, as made famous by the Zulus.

 

While not identical with modern-day Libya, ancient Phut had apparently occupied much of the same area, although some writers extend it much farther west. Some Bible atlases show the Province of Libya, when part of the Roman Empire, as shaped remarkably like a recumbent lion stretching out along the Mediterranean coast north of the Sahara Desert, with the important region of Cyrenaica as its head facing west. The distant island of Caphtor or Crete was also considered part of the Roman Province of Libya.

 

At Ezekiel 27:10 and 38:5, the term Libyes or Libya is used in the Vulgate instead of Put (RSV), while the LXX uses Libues. It has been even proposed that the name Libya derives from the people known as Lubim.

 

In Nahum 3, however, Phut/Put appears to be distinct from the Libyans, although there is obviously still a close association between them. Put is seen here as an ally of the Egyptian city of Thebes or No-amon (No: KJV).

 

Nahum 3:7-9  And all who look on you will shrink from you and say, Wasted is Nin'eveh; who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for her? 8 Are you better than Thebes that sat by the Nile, with water around her, her rampart a sea, and water her wall? 9 Ethiopia was her strength, Egypt too, and that without limit; Put and the Libyans were her helpers. (RSV)

The Hebrew word for Libyans in this text is Lubbiy (SHD 3864), meaning empty-hearted or afflicted (BDB), the latter perhaps through thirst in their Saharan desert environment. The Wikipedia article on ‘Phut’ gives derivations and variations of the name.

 

Furthermore, ancient Egyptian texts dating back as far as the 22nd dynasty, refer to the Libyan tribe of pỉdw, while a Ptolemaic text from Edfu refers to the t3 n n3 pỉt.w "the land of the Pitu(-people)". The word was later written in Demotic as pỉt and paiat in Coptic. Greek language texts from Graeco-Roman Egypt also refer to this Libyan group. Finally, a multilingual stela from al-Kabrīt, dating to the reign of Darius I refers to the Put as the putiya (Old Persian) and puta (Neo-Babylonian), but the equivalent text written in Egyptian has t3 tmhw "Libya".

 

The Libyans are a distinct breed from the Putim. The YDNA Hg A African tribes have no equivalent outside of Africa, but there are YDNA Hg A clans among the Celts north of the Roman boundaries who appear to have come from Hg A auxiliaries that escaped or moved north of the Roman area of control.

 

Libya

The Wikipedia articles on Libya and Ancient Libya provide an overview of the country.

 

The boundaries of Ancient Libya have yet to be determined. It was to the west of Ancient Egypt, and it was known as "IMNT" to the Ancient Egyptians. Libya was an unknown territory to the Egyptians: it was the lands of the spirits.[13]

 

To the Ancient Greeks, Libya was one of the three known continents besides, Asia and Europe. In this sense, Libya was the whole African continent to the west of the Nile Valley. Herodotus distinguished the inhabitants of Libya into two people: The Libyans in North Africa and the Ethiopians in the south. According to Herodotus, Libya begins where Ancient Egypt ends, and ends in Cape Spartel in the south of Tangier on the Atlantic coast.

 

The oldest reference to this name goes back to Ramesses II and Merenptah the Egyptian ruler of the 19th dynasty. He ruled in the second half of the 13th century BCE. The name was firstly mentioned as an ethnic name on the Merneptah Stele which is also known as the Israel's Stele

 

Afterwards, the name appeared repeatedly in the pharaonic records. It is, therefore, supposed that the origin of the name "Libya" would be this Egyptian name for the ancient tribe Libu. According to this theory, this name would be taken over by the Greeks of Cyrenaica who may have co-existed with them[6]. Later, the name appeared in the Hebrew language written in the Bible as Lehabim and Lubim indicating the ethnic population and the geographic territory as well. (Wikipedia, art. ‘Ancient Libya’)

 

We can thus deduce that the north was taken over by sub-groups of early Egyptians that divorced themselves from the central government on the Nile. The southern groups were identified with the Ethiopians who were Cushites. The Hg C Cushite tribes were developed in the East and the Haplogroup B subdivisions were developed in the Central South and moved West and further south-west from there. The A divisions went right throughout Africa to the Cape.

 

Modern history extends the archeological record over twice its actual time-frame and does not connect the YDNA groups and make the distinctions that it should.

 

The Berbers are recorded as replacing the earlier Neolithic inhabitants of the Libyan coastal plain. Their culture flourished for a long time before the Berber. They were displaced and moved South and West, and later they were further displaced by the RxR1 basic YDNA groups that inhabited Cameroon. These are descended from the ancestors of the Aryan Slavs and Celts. Hg A and B were thus forced into sub-Saharan Africa at least two thousand years ago.

 

The Phoenicians established alliances with the Berbers and placed trading posts in Libya. By the 5th century BCE the Phoenician colonies extended all across North Africa on what was the Punic civilisation. However, these people were not the sons of Put or Phut. They were in fact of two groups. One was Hamite Hg E (both a and b) and the other was Japhethite K2 from Tarshish. Tyre is now actually mostly K2 and some of these clans are in Malta and in Wales.

 

These Punic settlements on the Libyan coast included Oea (which was Tripoli), Labdah or Leptis Magna, and Sabratha. These were named Tripolis or "Three Cities", and Tripoli takes its name from this fact.

 

The Romans unified both regions of Libya, and for more than 400 years Tripolitania and Cyrenaica became prosperous Roman provinces.[8] Roman ruins, such as those of Leptis Magna, attest to the vitality of the region, where populous cities and even small towns enjoyed the amenities of urban life. Merchants and artisans from many parts of the Roman world established themselves in North Africa, but the character of the cities of Tripolitania remained decidedly Punic and, in Cyrenaica, Greek. Arabs conquered Libya in the 7th century CE. In the following centuries, many of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam, and also the Arabic language and culture. …

Demographics and language

Libya has a small population within its large territory, … [and] is thus one of the least dense nations by area in the world.[43] 90% of the people live in less than 10% of the area, mostly along the coast. More than half the population is urban, concentrated to a greater extent, in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi.[44] Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers.

 

Current Lybians are composite groups of Berber Tauregs; Tebu tribesmen and people from other African nations, including Egyptians and Tunisians, West African and Sub Saharan Africans. [Thus there are still inhabitants of the original Put and Cushite groups in the south.]

 

By some estimates Libyan Berbers and Arabs constitute 97% of the population; the other 3% are Sub-Saharan Africans, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Afghanis, Turks and Indians.

 

[Thus the original inhabitants are less that 3% of the total.]

 

The Berbers

The major group occupying the northern sector of Africa is known as Berbers, who are, more than likely, the ‘Libyans’ of Herodotus. The Berbers call themselves Imazighen (free men) and include the Tuareg nomads. They are derived from people moving away from the Egyptian kingdoms from their inception in what is termed pre-dynastic Egypt and for which an incorrect length of time is given to it, thus placing it far earlier in the time-frame.  The Wikipedia article gives basic details:

 

The Berbers have lived in North Africa between western Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean for as far back as records of the area go. The earliest inhabitants of the region are found on the rock art across the Sahara. References to them also occur frequently in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sources. Berber groups are first mentioned in writing by the ancient Egyptians during the Predynastic Period, and during the New Kingdom the Egyptians later fought against the Meshwesh and Libu tribes on their western borders.

 

For many centuries the Berbers inhabited the coast of North Africa from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean. Over time, the coastal regions of North Africa saw a long parade of invaders, settlers,[3] and colonists including Phoenicians (who founded Carthage), Greeks (mainly in Cyrene, Libya), Romans, Vandals and Alans, Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans, and the French and Spanish.

 

Most if not all of these invaders have left some imprint upon the modern Berbers as have slaves brought from Southern Europe to the Barbary Coast by Barbary pirates (one estimate place the number of Europeans brought to North Africa during the Ottoman period as high as 1.25 million)[2]. Interactions with neighboring Sudanic empires, sub-Saharan Africans, and nomads from East Africa also left vast impressions upon the Berber peoples.

 

… Amongst the people who had entered and settled with the autochthonous people of North Africa, are the 80,000 families of Germanic Vandals also referred to as "The Barbarians" by the Romans and the Mediterraneans in general who neither perished nor retuned to Germania, but melted with the natives which ultimately resulted in the eviction of the Roman forces from North Africa.

 

These Vandals are probably the origin of the RxR1 basic Cameroon and North-west African and F sub-group Semitic H, I, J and the Japhethite K YDNA of the Tarshish Phoenician traders.

 

Herodotus has a great deal to say about the numerous Libyan or Berber tribes he encountered during his travels in North Africa (see The Histories, Rawlinson transl., Bk. IV, 168-198). His A to Z of tribes includes: Adyrmachidae, Asbystae, Auschisae, Gilligammae, Cabalians, Nasamonians, Garamantians, Macea, Gindanes, Lotophagi, Machlyans, Auseans, Ammonians, Atarantians, Maxyans, and Zavecians. Herodotus adds:

 

These be the Libyan tribes whereof I am able to give the names; and most of these cared little then, and indeed care little now, for the king of the Medes. One thing more also I can add concerning this region, namely, that, so far as our knowledge reaches, four nations, and no more, inhabit it; and two of these nations are indigenous, while two are not. The two indigenous are the Libyans and Ethiopians, who dwell respectively in the north and the south of Libya. The Phoenicians and the Greek are in-comers. (ibid., IV, 197)

 

Thus the Libyan Berbers were a proud people who fiercely guarded their independence and never succumbed to the mighty Medo-Persian empire. The furthest point in the west reached by the Persians was the city of Euesperides (ibid., 204), later called Benghazi. And these Berbers were far from simply ill-disciplined tribesmen, but were accomplished military men and women – for the Zavecian wives actually drove their men’s chariots into battle (193) – and they were renowned mercenaries in Egypt, Tyre and Judah as Scripture shows. Herodotus says that “the Greeks learnt from the Libyans to yoke four horses to a chariot” (189) and, with respect to one of the Berber tribes, adds:

 

The Garamantians have four-horse chariots, in which they chase the Troglodyte Ethiopians, who of all the nations whereof any account has reached our ears are by far the swiftest of foot. (ibid., IV, 183)

 

Herodotus also said of the them: “Certainly the Libyans are the healthiest men that I know;” (187).

 

The Berbers left no written records and hence their origins have been somewhat sketchy. Recent genetic research has been able to shed more light upon them, as attested in the Wikipedia article.

 

Genetic evidence

While population genetics is a young science still full of controversy, in general the genetic evidence appears to indicate that most northwest Africans (whether they consider themselves Berber or Arab) are predominantly of Berber origin, and that populations ancestral to the Berbers have been in the area since the Upper Paleolithic era. Significant proportions of both the Berber and Arabized Berber gene pools derive from more recent migration of various Italic, Germanic, and sub-Saharan African peoples, all of whom have left their genetic footprints in the region.

 

Genotype by region

The appearance and the genetic make-up of Berbers is best examined together with that of their fellow Arabic-speaking inhabitants of North Africa; both share a predominant Berber ancestry of dominant Y chromosome contributions from ancient East Africa and dominant mitochondrial contributions from western Asia.

 

Coastal Northwest Africans

About 75% of Northwest Africans live on the coast. Berber groups such as the Riffis and Kabyles have the least recent sub-Saharan admixture (~2%) and the highest European admixture (~15%); Arabic-speaking groups have about 7% recent sub-Saharan admixture overall. Berber groups in this zone include:

·         Kabyles

·         Chawis

·         Riffis

·         Chenwas

 

Northwest Africans of the interior

About 20% of Northwest Africans live between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara; these groups have moderate, recent sub-Saharan admixture (~20%), including:

·         Mozabites

·         Chleuhs

 

Saharan Northwest Africans

About 5% of Northwest Africans live in the Sahara; these groups have the highest recent and ancient West African admixture, sometimes reaching 80-90% among the Tuaregs. They include:

·         Tuaregs

·         Saharan Berbers, Oasis Berbers

 

The Wikipedia article also gives much greater detail on the genetic makeup of the Berbers and Tuareg.

 

Kabyles

·         The Y chromosome is passed exclusively through the paternal line. The composition is: 48% E3b2, 12% E3b* (xE3b2), 17% R1*(xR1a) and 23% F*(xH,I,J2,K) ((Arredi et al., 2004) [1]), according to the method used by Bosch et al. 2001. We may summarize the historical origins of the Kabyle Y-chromosome pool as follows: 60% Northwest African Upper Paleolithic (H36/E3b* and H38/E3b2), 23% Neolithic (F*(xH,I,J2,K)) and 17% historic European gene flow (R1*(xR1a)). The NW African Upper Paleolithic component is identified as "an Upper Paleolithic colonization that probably had its origin in Eastern Africa."

·         Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), by contrast, is inherited only from the mother and is: 30.65% H, 29.03% U* (with 17.74% U6), 3.23% preHV, 4.84% preV, 4.84% V, 3.23% T*, 4.84% J*, 3.23% L1, 4.84% L3e, 3.23% X, 3.23% M1, 1.61% N and R 3.23%.

Thus the mtDNA makeup of Kabyles is: 66.12% general Western Eurasian (H, J, U, T, K, X, V and I), 22.58% specific Northwest African (U6, L3E), 8.07% Asian (M1, N, R) and 3.23% sub-Saharan gene flow (L1-L3a).

 

Mozabits

The Y chromosome is passed exclusively through the paternal line. According to Bosch et al. 2001, "the historical origins of the NW African Y-chromosome pool may be summarized as follows: 75% NW African Upper Paleolithic (H35, H36, and H38), 13% Neolithic (H58 and H71), 4% historic European gene flow (group IX, H50, H52), and 8% recent sub-Saharan African (H22 and H28)". They identify the "75% NW African Upper Paleolithic" component as "an Upper Paleolithic colonization that probably had its origin in Eastern Africa." The North-west African population's 75% Y chromosome genetic contribution from East Africa contrasted with a 78% contribution to the Iberian population from western Asia, suggests that the northern rim of the Mediterranean with the Strait of Gibraltar acted as a strong, albeit incomplete, barrier (Bosch et al, 2001).

 

The interpretation of the second most frequent "Neolithic" haplotype is debated:Arredi et al. 2004, like Semino et al. 2000 and Bosch et al. 2001, argue that the H71 haplogroup and North African Y-chromosomal diversity indicate a Neolithic-era "demic diffusion of Afro-Asiatic-speaking pastoralists from the Middle East", while Nebel et al. 2002 argue that H71 rather reflects "recent gene flow caused by the migration of Arabian tribes in the first millennium of the Common Era(700-800 A.D)." Bosch et al. also find little genetic distinction between Arabic-speaking and Berber-speaking populations in North Africa, which they take to support the interpretation of the Arabization and Islamization of northwestern Africa, starting with word-borrowing during the 7th century A.D. and through State Arabic Language Officialisation post independence in 1962, as cultural phenomena without extensive genetic replacement. Cruciani et al. 2004 note that the E-M81 haplogroup on the Y-chromosome correlates closely with Berber populations.

 

The mtDNA, by contrast, is inherited only from the mother. According to Macaulay et al. 1999, "one-third of Mozabite Berber mtDNAs have a Near Eastern ancestry, probably having arrived in North Africa ~50,000 years ago, and one-eighth have an origin in sub-Saharan Africa. Europe appears to be the source of many of the remaining sequences, with the rest having arisen either in Europe or in the Near East."

 

[Maca-Meyer et al. 2003] analyze the "autochthonous North African lineage U6" in mtDNA, concluding that:

The most probable origin of the proto-U6 lineage was the Near East. Around 30,000 years ago it spread to North Africa where it represents a signature of regional continuity. Subgroup U6a reflects the first African expansion from the Maghrib returning to the east in Paleolithic times. Derivative clade U6a1 signals a posterior movement from East Africa back to the Maghrib and the Near East. This migration coincides with the probable Afroasiatic linguistic expansion.

 

As stated below, we do not agree on these time-frames. They are based on the premise that mtDNA does not cause mutation across the human genome which we now know to be completely false.

 

Touareg

A genetic study by Fadhlaoui-Zid et al. 2004 argues concerning certain exclusively North African haplotypes that "expansion of this group of lineages took place around 10,500 years ago in North Africa, and spread to neighbouring population", and apparently that a specific Northwestern African haplotype, U6, probably originated in the Near East 30,000 years ago but has not been highly preserved and accounts for 6-8% in southern Moroccan Berbers, 18% in Kabyles and 28% in Mozabites. Rando et al. 1998 (as cited by [5]) "detected female-mediated gene flow from sub-Saharan Africa to NW Africa" amounting to as much as 21.5% of the mtDNA sequences in a sample of NW African populations; the amount varied from 82% (Touaregs) to 4% (Rifains). This north-south gradient in the sub-Saharan contribution to the gene pool is supported by Esteban et al. Nevertheless, individual Berber communities display a considerably high mtDNA heterogeneity among them. The Kesra of Tunisia, for example, display a much higher proportion of typical sub-Saharan mtDNA haplotypes (49%, including 4.2% of M1 haplogroup) Cherni L, et al.The North African patchy mtDNA landscape has no parallel in other regions of the world.

 

The time-frames are grossly extended by modern genetics due to the false assumption that mtDNA does not cause mutation in the human genome. This aspect is covered in the paper DNA Rates of Change: Modern Science v The Bible (No. 215). The compositions, however, give an overview of the North African DNA and show that the movement of females was quite extensive throughout Africa, and the YDNA Hg A and B males moved into sub-Saharan Africa and right down to South Africa with Hg A.

 

The Garamantes or Garamantians mentioned by Herodotus (above) were another Berber tribe of the Sahara desert. Remarkably, their kingdom lasted for about 1000 years and, during Herodotus’s time at least, they possessed no weapons of war (IV, 174); hence theirs could be seen almost as a simple prototype of the millennial kingdom of Messiah. The Garamantian capital was initially located at Zinchera but later moved to Garama (modern Germa). The Wikipedia article gives further details of this group.

 

The Garamantes were a Saharan Berber-speaking people who used an elaborate underground irrigation system, and founded a kingdom in the Fezzan area of modern-day Libya, in the Sahara desert. They were a local power in the Sahara between 500 BC and 500 AD.

 

There is not much information about the Garamantes, not even the name they used to call themselves; Garamantes was a Greek name which the Romans later adopted. Most of what we know comes from Greek and Roman sources …

 

The Garamantes were probably present as tribal people in the Fezzan by 1000 BC They appear in the written record for the first time in the 5th century BC; according to Herodotus, they were "a very great nation" who herded cattle, farmed dates, and hunted the "Ethiopian Troglodytes", or "cave-dwellers" who lived in the desert, from four-horse chariots. Roman depictions describe them as bearing ritual scars and tattoos.

 

Tacitus wrote that they assisted the rebel Tacfarinas and raided Roman coastal settlements.

The Romans kept close trade contacts with Garamantes; archaeologists have even found a Roman bathhouse in Garama. The Roman chronicler Maternus accompanied a Garamantian ruler on a four-month military expedition to what is now the border area of Nigeria. Still, in spite of the trade relations, Romans did not really consider them civilized.

 

The Garamantians represented a challenge to Rome, never giving in to Roman power, while the coastal zones of today's Libya did. Despite this, Herodotus reported that they had no weapons of war, and did not know how to defend themselves.

 

In the 1st century BC, the Garamantes raided North Africa and clashed with Roman forces. According to Pliny the Elder, Romans eventually grew tired of Garamantian raiding and Lucius Cornelius Balbus captured 15 of their settlements in 19 BC. After a Roman punitive expedition in 70, the Garamantes were forced into an official relationship with Rome and might have become one of the Roman client states.

By around 150 the Garamantian kingdom (in today's central Libya (Fezzan), principally along the still existing Wadi l-Ajal), covered 180,000 square kilometres in modern-day southern Libya. It lasted from about 400 BC to 600.

 

The decline of the Garamantian civilization is said to be connected to worsening climatic conditions. What is desert today was once fairly good agricultural land and was enhanced through the Garmantian irrigation system 1,500 years ago. As fossil water is not a renewable resource, over the six centuries of the Garamantian kingdom, the ground water level fell. The kingdom declined and fragmented.

 

Byzantine records claim that the king of Garamantes made a peace treaty with Byzantium in 569 and accepted Christianity. Later Muslim records say that in 668 the king of Garamantes was imprisoned and dragged off in chains. The area was eventually absorbed into the Muslim sphere of influence.

 

Phutites in Scripture

One of the errors of history is to assume – from the fact that the important Libyan city of Cyrene and its inhabitants are mentioned several times in the New Testament texts – that we are dealing with the sons of Phut, when such is not the case. In Acts 6:9, for example, we see the Cyreneans vehemently disputing with Stephen and accusing him of blasphemy. After the murder of Stephen, however, some of the Christian converts among the Cyrenean Jews fled to Antioch and were seen preaching the Gospel to the Greek-Jews in that city (Acts 11:19-20).

 

Cyrene (Kurene: SGD 2957, meaning supremacy of the bridle) is described as “a large and very flourishing city of Libya Cyrenaica or Pentapolitana, about 11 miles (17 km) from the sea. Among its inhabitants were a great number of Jews, whom Ptolemy I had brought there, and invested with the right of citizens” (BDB). It was founded in ca. 630 BCE, and originally intended by the Greeks to be the ‘Athens of Africa’.

 

Also in the Church at Antioch at the time of ministry of Saul and Barnabas, was a prophet or teacher from Cyrene called Lucius. He is mentioned together with Simeon, referred to as Niger (black) and thus a dark-skinned Libyan (Acts 13:1); in fact, both men may have been black. It has also been speculated that he is the same Simeon coerced into carrying the stake for Christ’s crucifixion (although Simon was a common enough name in that era).

 

Mark 15:21  And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyre'ne, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. (RSV)

Here we see Sim(e)on literally taking up Christ’s “cross” and following him, as we are enjoined to do daily.

 

Luke 9:23-24  And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. (RSV)

It is from the fact that he may have been a southern Libyan that some commentators point out that the descendants of all three sons of Noah were present at the crucifixion of Messiah: the Japhethite Romans, the Semite Jews, and a Hamite from Cyrene, with the latter the only one reluctantly assisting with or consenting to his death. Thus it could be seen that the whole family of man was involved, just as all those in attendance on that day called for his crucifixion and hence effectively made all mankind culpable for Christ’s death (Mat. 27:22,25), as was in fact the case. He may have been an Egyptian rather than a son of Phut, but either way he would have been Hamitic.

 

In Acts 2:10, we note that Cyrenians were in Jerusalem to hear the Apostles, who had been newly energised by the Holy Spirit during Pentecost, preaching the good news in their own language. These people could have been, and most probably were, Jews rather than Libyans of Egyptian extraction of those from the south, who may actually have been Cushites rather than true Phutites.

 

Acts 2:1-11 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Par'thians and Medes and E'lamites and residents of Mesopota'mia, Judea and Cappado'cia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phryg'ia and Pamphyl'ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre'ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." (RSV)

 

Presumably as a result of this unique experience, these Cyrenians were among the first to accept the gospel message and become converted.

Phut in prophecy

The warriors of Phut are seen allied with the Ethiopians during the wars of the Last Days, as prophesied in Jeremiah 46.

 

Jeremiah 46:1,9-10  The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations. … 9 Advance, O horses, and rage, O chariots! Let the warriors go forth: men of Ethiopia and Put who handle the shield, men of Lud, skilled in handling the bow. 10 That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord GOD of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphra'tes. (RSV)

 

Put or Phut also features in Scriptures concerning the fall of Egypt.

 

Ezekiel 30:1-5  The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: "Wail, `Alas for the day!' 3 For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. 4 A sword shall come upon Egypt, and anguish shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain fall in Egypt, and her wealth is carried away, and her foundations are torn down. 5 Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. (RSV)

The full sequence of this can be seen in the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms. Note that Libya and Put are distinct in this text. The sub-Saharan Africans and Ethiopians are part of this conflict.

 

Ezekiel 38:1-6  The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; 4 and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords; 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togar'mah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes -- many peoples are with you. (RSV)

 

This text refers to the rebellion during the Millennium and is explained in the paper The Day of the Lord and the Last Days (No. 192).

 

Daniel 11:42-43  He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train. (RSV)

 

In this sequence the Libyans and Ethiopians are both in the train of Egypt in the wars. They are, however, distinct from Phut in these wars.

 

There are many references to Put and it is obvious that they are scattered and consolidated with the forces of the Last Days. Both Cush and Put are together in the wars with Persia, and as we now see they form a consolidated, seemingly Islamic – or at least, non-Western –presence in the wars of the end.

 

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