Christian Churches of God
Sons of Ham:
(Edition 2.0 20070917-20071020)
This paper is the first in a series that provides an overview of the settlement after the Flood and the distribution of the Sons of Ham.
Sons of Ham: Part I
In both Genesis 5:32 and 6:10 Ham is listed as the second son of Noah.
Genesis 5:32 After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (RSV)
The Hebrew word for Ham is cham (SHD 2526), meaning hot or sunburnt “from the tropical habitat” (Strong). In Psalm 78:5, we see Egypt described as the first-fruits of the strength in the tents of Ham.
The Hamitic peoples comprise the largest group (thirty) among the Seventy Nations listed in both Genesis 10 and 1Chronicles 1. The latter text records the first Patriarchs from Adam through the line of Seth to Noah and his descendants. (See also the paper Doctrine of Original Sin Part 2: The Generations of Adam (No. 248).)
1Chronicles 1:1-16 Adam, Seth, Enosh; 2 Kenan, Ma-hal'alel, Jared; 3 Enoch, Methu'selah, Lamech; 4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 5 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 6 The sons of Gomer: Ash'kenaz, Diphath, and Togar'mah. 7 The sons of Javan: Eli'shah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Ro'danim. 8 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt [Mizraim: KJV], Put, and Canaan. 9 The sons of Cush: Seba, Hav'ilah, Sabta, Ra'ama, and Sab'teca. The sons of Ra'amah: Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 11 Egypt was the father of Ludim, An'amim, Le'habim, Naph-tu'him, 12 Pathru'sim, Caslu'him (whence came the Philis'tines), and Caph'torim. 13 Canaan was the father of Sidon his fist-born, and Heth, 14 and the Jeb'usites, the Am'orites, the Gir'gashites, 15 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 16 the Ar'vadites, the Zem'arites, and the Ha'mathites. (RSV)
Thus we have the four sons of the Hamitic line: Cush, Mizraim, Put/Phut and Canaan, along with numerous grandsons – all patriarchs in their own right (see Chart 1, Appendix). Each will be dealt with in separate papers in this series. The place of the Ark’s landfall will provide the background to the jumping-off point and subsequent dispersal of all the descendants of Noah.
Landfall of Noah’s Ark
The name Noah means rest, comfort or consolation (SHD 5146) and is the same as nuach (SHD 5118) meaning resting place, appropriate for a man synonymous with the Ark. He was a righteous man of integrity (tamiym, SHD 8549), or blameless in his generation.
Genesis 6:8-10 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (RSV)
Genesis 7:7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood. (RSV)
All survived the great Flood of around 2348 BCE (Gen. 7:13; 9:18). The floodwaters remained upon the Earth for 150 days, after which they began to recede and “the Ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4). In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus notes several ancient historians who claimed to know the actual location of the Ark’s resting place.
5. … After this, the ark rested on the top of a certain mountain in Armenia; … the Armenians call this place, Apobaterion (16) The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.
6. Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom is Berosus the Chaldean. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs." Hieronymus the Egyptian also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them; where he speaks thus: "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moss the legislator of the Jews wrote." (Bk. I, iii, 5-6)
Footnote (16): This Apobaterion, or Place of Descent, is the proper rendering of the Armenian name of this very city. It is called in Ptolemy Naxuana, and by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian, Idsheuan; but at the place itself Nachidsheuan, which signifies The first place of descent, and is a lasting monument of the preservation of Noah in the ark, upon the top of that mountain, at whose foot it was built, as the first city or town after the flood. See Antiq. B. XX. ch. 2. sect. 3; and Moses Chorenensis, who also says elsewhere, that another town was related by tradition to have been called Seron, or, The Place of Dispersion, on account of the dispersion of Xisuthrus's or Noah's sons, from thence first made. Whether any remains of this ark be still preserved, as the people of the country suppose, I cannot certainly tell. (W. Whiston)
The mountain on which the Ark rested, Baris, is known as Mt. Nimush (modern Judi Dagh) in the Gilgamesh Epic and Al-Judi (or Gebel-Judi) in the Qur’an (Surah 11:44). This is a 6,500 ft (2000m) peak in the mountains of present-day Kurdistan. Eutychius of Alexandria (9th century CE) also claimed that “the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat that is Gebel Judi, near Mosul” (a city in northern Iraq). In The Lost Testament, the Egyptologist and historian David Rohl gives a number of convincing reasons for the mountain of the landfall to be identified with Judi Dagh (Century, Random House Ltd, London, 2002, pp. 54-55).
The first city built after the Flood was called Apobaterion in Greek, or Idsheuan in Armenian, and apparently located at the foot of Gebel-Judi. Seron was the place from which Noah’s sons began to disperse and re-colonise the world.
In his book Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl has this to say on the region:
The name Armenia itself may well derive from the first millennium BC kingdom of the Mannai (the Manneans) whose capital (modern Miyandoab -- ‘Between the Two Waters’), in the fertile plain to the south of Lake Urmia, would perhaps have been called Ur-Mannai (‘Foundation’ or ‘City of the Manneans’). It is clear from several examples that the name element ur is equivalent to biblical ar. The prefix ur/ar or uru/ara was in fairly common use throughout the ancient Near East, the two most famous instances being the Sumerian city of Ur (simply meaning ‘city’) and Jerusalem or Uru-Shalem (‘City’ or ‘Foundation of Shalem’).
The Assyrians of the first millennium BC also referred to this area as ‘Urartu’, which is where the biblical Ararat comes from. (Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, p. 59)
The Ziusudra Epic claims Noah dwelt at some stage “in the land of crossing – Mount Dilmun – the place where the sun rises”. Along with several others, Ziusudra is the name given to Noah; its derivation is given by Rohl in The Lost Testament.
The name is formed by two elements -- ‘long-lived’ (ziu) combined with the epithet ‘the far-distant’ (sudra), because of the tradition (later passed down in the Gilgamesh Epic) that the flood hero and his wife were the only humans to be granted eternal life by the gods in a far-off land where the sun rose. To the Semitic-speaking peoples of early Mesopotamia Ziusudra was known as Atrahasis ‘exceedingly devout’, often accompanied by the epithet ruku (‘the far-distant’). … [Genesis 6:9]
The later Babylonians gave him the name Utnapishtim, which means something like ‘he found (eternal) life’, whereas Berossus, the Babylonian historian of the third century BC, called him Xisuthros after the original Sumerian epithet Ziusudra. Of course, we know the flood hero as Noah -- the name given to him in the biblical tradition and which probably derives from the second element of Ut-na-pishtim (sometimes written Ut-na’-ishtim where the na’ may have been vocalised nua). [Ftnt.* On the other hand earlier scholars such as C.J. Ball read the Babylonian name as Nuh-napishtim where, of course, Nuh would also be the equivalent of Hebrew Noah.] (op. cit., p. 46)
The note that Utnapishtim or Noah found (eternal) life may simply mean that he was certain of attaining the First Resurrection, along with his wife. Although the Bible is silent on the matter, Rohl and other scholars also suggest that Noah was a local ruler over the city of Shuruppak, one of the larger settlements in the land of Shinar and located about 60 miles (100 km) to the north of Eridu. The Gilgamesh XI tablet refers to Utnapishtim as the “man of Shuruppak” (line 23).
For the sceptics, the biblical Flood narrative has been confirmed in many ancient Mesopotamian ‘myths’ such as the Epics of Atrahasis, Gilgamesh and Ziusudra, the wording of which suggest a common origin. Atrahasis (extremely wise) was the Akkadian name for Noah. The following are some extracts from these parallel Flood stories.
"the decision that mankind is to be destroyed" Ziusudra iv,157-158
"The gods commanded total destruction" Atrahasis II,viii,34
"The great gods decided to make a deluge" Gilgamesh XI,14
"God...decided to make an end of all flesh" Genesis 6:13
"Enki...over the capitals the storm will sweep" Ziusudra iv,156
"He [Enki] told him of the coming of the flood" Atrahasis III,i,37
"Kronos...said...mankind would be destroyed by a flood" Berossus
"God said to Noah...I will bring a flood" Genesis 6:13,17
"...the huge boat" Ziusudra v,207
"Build a ship" Atrahasis III,i,22
"Build a ship" Gilgamesh XI,24
"build a boat" Berossus
"Make yourself an ark" Genesis 6:14
"your family, your relatives" Atrahasis DT,42(w),8
"he sent his family on board" Atrahasis III,ii,42
"into the ship all my family and relatives" Gilgamesh XI,84
"Go into the ark, you and all your household" Genesis 7:1
"who protected the seed of mankind" Ziusudra vi,259
"Bring into the ship the seed of life of everything" Gilgamesh XI,27
"to keep their seed alive" Genesis 7:3 (KJV)
"coming of the flood on the seventh night" Atrahasis,III,i,37
"after seven days the waters of the flood came" Genesis 7:10
"consigned the peoples to destruction" Atrahasis III,iii,54
"All mankind was turned to clay" Gilgamesh XI,133
"And all flesh died...and every man" Genesis 7:21
"On Mount Nisir the boat grounded" Gilgamesh XI,140
"the boat had grounded upon a mountain" Berossus
"After Khsisuthros... landed ... a long mountain" Moses of Khoren
"the ark came to rest upon the mountains" Genesis 8:4.
During their travels through Kurdistan in the early 20th century, the brothers W.A and E.T Wigram learned of a peculiar commemorative feast.
Noah’s sacrifice is still commemorated year by year on the place where tradition says the ark rested -- a ziaret which is not the actual summit of the mountain but a spot on its ridge. On that day (which, strange to say, is the first day of Ilul, or September 14 of our calendar …) all faiths and all nations come together, letting all feuds sleep on that occasion, to commemorate an event which is older than any of their divisions.
… Shiah and Sunni type, Sabaeans, Jews, and even the furtive timid Yezidis are there, each group bringing a sheep or kid for sacrifice; and for one day there is a “truce of God” even in turbulent Kurdistan, and the smoke of a hundred offerings goes up once more on the ancient altar. Lower down on the hillside, and hard by the Nestorian village of Hasana, men still point out Noah’s tomb and Noah’s vineyard, though this last, strange to say, produces no wine now. The grapes from it are used exclusively for nipukhta or grape treacle, possibly in memory of the disaster that once befell the Patriarch. (The Cradle of Mankind, A & C Black, London, 1922, p. 335)
As recorded in Genesis 7 and 8, the Flood actually began in the month of Iyar (2nd month) and the Ark came to rest exactly 5 months later in the month of Tishri. Elul/Ilul is the 6th month, which normally falls in August rather than September, so the authors may be mistaken in their assertion. Hence, the celebration by the people of Kurdistan would most likely commemorate the landfall of the Ark in the month of Tishri, the holy month of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles in God’s Sacred Calendar. (See the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156).)
Assuming Cush/Kush to be synonymous with Kish, the Sumerian King List recalls this to be the area and the patriarch from which a new line of kings originated after the Flood.
“When Kingship was lowered again from Heaven, the Kingship was in Kish.”
Kish was also known as Urzababa.
The lineage of Noah is repeated in Genesis 10.
Genesis 10:1, 6-20 These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; sons were born to them after the flood. … 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt [Mizraim: KJV], Put, and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Hav'ilah, Sabtah, Ra'amah, and Sab'teca. The sons of Ra'amah: Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Ba'bel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nin'eveh, Reho'both-Ir, Calah, and 12 Resen between Nin'eveh and Calah; that is the great city. 13 Egypt became the father of Ludim, An'amim, Leha'bim, Naph-tu'him, 14 Pathu'sim, Caslu'him (whence came the Philistines), and Caph'torim. 15 Canaan became the father of Sidon his first-born, and Heth, 16 and the Jeb'usites, the Amorites, the Gir'gashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Ar'vadites, the Zem'arites, and the Ha'mathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomor'rah, Admah, and Zeboi'im, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations. (RSV)
These were the descendants of Ham according to their families (mishpachah, SHD 4940), their languages (lashon, SHD 3956), their lands (‘erets, SHD 776) and their nations (goyim, SHD 1471).
In Legend, David Rohl gives an overview of the movements of the sons of Ham from their original homeland.
The descendants of Noah rebuilt the cities of Uruk and Eridu, founded by their great ancestor Enoch. Two of Uruk’s rulers are particularly remembered by the later Sumerians as great kings. We will deal with Enmerkar in a moment, but first I should relate the strange tale of King Meskiagkasher -- the biblical Cush, son of Ham and grandson of Noah.
The Sumerian King List tells us that Meskiagkasher journeyed over the southern sea and came ashore in a mountainous land. We can trace his journey from Eridu to the sacred island of Dilmun (Bahrain) which had been used as a resting place by Sumerian sea traders for many centuries. His fleet of ships had then journeyed on into the open ocean and along the southern shore of the Arabian peninsula to reach the coast of Africa near the mouth of the Red Sea. There they came ashore in the mountainous land we today call Ethiopia but which was anciently known as Kush. Throughout their history, the later Egyptians would call the people of the Upper Nile ‘Kushites’, after their eponymous ancestor. …
During the centuries which followed the initial arrival of Cush and his fleet, many return journeys would be made by individual ships laden with the produce of Africa. Eventually, after trade with the Indus Valley had ceased (probably due to the invasion of Meluhha by the Aryan tribes) and supplies for copper ore in Magan had begun to diminish, the new resources of Africa became much more important to the later Mesopotamian civilisations. As a result, the new regions which supplied the produce of the more ancient overseas lands were named after the original toponyms. Thus Ethiopia became known as Meluhha whilst Egypt was named Magan. However, the pharaohs continued to regard their southern neighbour as the kingdom of Kush.
In the company of Cush (or perhaps following on later) came Ham’s younger ‘sons’, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. They were not to stay with their Cushite brethren but went in search of new lands of their own to conquer. (op. cit., pp. 446-448; emphasis added)
The three lands mentioned thus far – Dilmun, Meluhha and Magan – are the subject of conflicting ideas amongst scholars, as noted in the Wikipedia article.
Meluhha, Dilmun and Magan
Sumerian texts repeatedly refer to three important centres with which they traded: Magan, Dilmun, and Meluhha. Magan is usually identified with Oman, though some identify it with Egypt. Dilmun was a trade distribution centre for goods originating in the region of modern-day Bahrain. The location of Meluhha, however is hotly debated.
A number of scholars suggest that "Meluhha" was the Sumerian name for western India or the Indus valley civilization. Asko and Simo Parpola, both Finnish scholars, derive Meluhha from earlier Sumerian documents with the alternative value "Me-lah-ha", which they identify with the Dravidian Met-akam "high abode/country". They further claim that Meluhha is the origin of the Sanskrit mleccha meaning "barbarian, foreigner".
Sergei V. Rjabchikov, a Russian scholar, reads an archaic form of Meluhha as a Proto-Indo-Aryan word ("solar beam"; "to die"), and he compares it, in particular, with the name of the mountain Meru in the Old Indian mythology. However, much later texts documenting the exploits of King Assurbanipal of Assyria (668-627 BC), long after the Indus Valley civilization had ceased to exist, seemingly imply that Meluhha is to be found somewhere near Egypt, in Africa .
Indus Valley hypothesis
Earlier texts (c.2200 BC) seem to indicate that Meluhha is to the east, suggesting either the Indus valley or India. Sargon of Akkad was said to have "dismantled the cities, as far as the shore of the sea. At the wharf of Agade, he docked ships from Meluhha, ships from Magan."
There is plenty of archaeological evidence for the trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have turned up at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites. "Persian Gulf" types of circular stamped rather than rolled seals, also known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat, India, and Faylahkah, as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade.
What the commerce consisted of is less sure: timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from the Gulf, and shell and bone inlays, were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woollen textiles, perhaps oil and grains and other foods. Copper ingots, certainly, bitumen, which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia, may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia — all these have been instanced.
Mesopotamian trade documents, lists of goods, and official inscriptions mentioning Meluhha supplement Harappan seals and archaeological finds. Literary references to Meluhhan trade date from the Akkadian, the Third Dynasty of Ur, and Isin - Larsa Periods (ca 2350 - 1800 BCE), but the trade probably started in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2600 BC). Some Meluhhan vessels may have sailed directly to Mesopotamian ports, although by the Isin - Larsa Period, Dilmun, which was located "en route" to Meluhha, monopolized the trade. By the subsequent Old Babylonian period, trade between the two cultures had evidently ceased entirely.
Later texts from the 1st millennium BC suggest that "Meluhha" and "Magan" were kingdoms adjacent to Egypt. Assurbanipal writes about his first march against Egypt, "In my first campaign I marched against Magan, Meluhha, Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his way...".
Bernard Sergent (in Genèse de l'Inde, Payot, Paris, 1997) claims that Dravidians were a "Melano-African" race from the African Sahel belt  , positing that these peoples migrated from there, and suggesting that Meluhha first referred to Ethiopia, and later to the Indus Valley. It is important to note that from the third millennium BC onwards, Ethiopia itself was never referred to as Meluhha, but as Kush. Apart from Ashurbanipal's reference, there is no mention of Meluhha in any Mesopotamian text after about 1700 BC, which corresponds to the time of decline of the Indus Valley. (Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meluhha")
These Indus cities were Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, referred to in the paper Mysticism Chapter 1 Spreading the Babylonian Mysteries (B7_1) .
In his book Legend, under the heading ‘The Table of Nations’, David Rohl states:
So the Bible and the early historians all transport Cush, grandson of Noah, to Africa. How might he have got there? By boat perhaps? Certainly if we are looking for a route from southern Mesopotamia to the highlands of Ethiopia in north-eastern Africa we would logically look to the sea rather than a crossing of the inhospitable Arabian desert.
The movement of the Egyptians was in opposition to the sons of Cush. The Egyptians moved through Canaan, which was the area occupied by the son of Ham and brother of Mizraim.
After this they were dispersed abroad, on account of their languages, and went out by colonies every where; and each colony took possession of that land which they light upon, and unto which God led them; so that the whole continent was filled with them, both the inland and the maritime countries. There were some also who passed over the sea in ships, and inhabited the islands: and some of those nations do still retain the denominations which were given them by their first founders; (Josephus, AJ, I, v,1)
The waters that border on the land of Sumer do not form part of the Mediterranean (the ‘Upper Sea’) but rather the Persian Gulf (the ‘Lower Sea’) and, beyond, the Indian Ocean. According to Josephus, on their way to Africa, the followers of Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan occupied islands (op. cit., pp. 219-222).
It appears likely that, rather than taking the more direct overland route from Mesopotamia to Egypt and Africa, the descendants of Ham journeyed by sea, following the coastline southward to the island of present-day Bahrain where some of them settled, before rounding the peninsula of modern Qatar and proceeding further eastwards. Upon reaching the Strait of Hormuz, the seafarers would have had the choice of continuing in a direct easterly direction, thereby fetching up in the Indus River Basin (in modern-day Pakistan) or of turning south and following the coastline of Oman and Yemen, then circumnavigating the Arabian peninsula into the Red Sea. Apparently they did both, giving rise to the Harappa civilisation in the Indus Valley (“the land of Havilah”: Gesenius) and various other civilisations in Africa and Egypt. This would account for the prolific spread of Hamitic genes throughout the ancient world. These civilisations will be discussed in other papers in the Descendants of Ham series.
It is almost certain that the sons of Noah assisted with the construction of the Ark, thereby giving them experience in building the ultimate seagoing vessel. Such invaluable skills would have been handed down to their descendants, particularly Sidon, son of Canaan, the forefather of unquestionably the greatest shipbuilders and seafarers of ancient times – the Phoenicians (see the paper Sons of Ham Part V: Canaan (No. 45E)).
These Phoenicians also included the sons of Tarshish that were a Japhethite group of the sons of Javan.
The Semitic linguist Zecharia Sitchin, in The Twelfth Planet, quotes part of a Sumerian text which talks of the land called Arali lying some hundred berus away from Sumer. The beru is either a time unit or a land measure, so that 100 beru is equal to about 200 hours of sailing time.
The text indicates that Arali was situated west and south of Sumer. A ship traveling two or three thousand miles in a south-westerly direction from the Persian Gulf could only have one destination: the shores of southern Africa. …
The various names and epithets for Ea’s [lord of Abzu’s] African Land of Mines are replete with clues to its location and nature. It was known as A.RA.LI (“place of the shiny lodes”), the land from which the metal ores come. … The land’s name -- Arali -- could also be written as a variant of the pictograph for “dark-red” (soil), of Kush (“dark-red,” but in time meaning “Negro”), or of the metals mined there; (Allen & Unwin, London, 1977, pp. 284-289).
The term for black soil is a name for Egypt as opposed to the red soil of the surrounding desert. Kush is understood as meaning black, hence the term Negro.
Sitchin also comments on the biblical text in 1Kings 10:22 describing Solomon’s fleet of ships that brought back animals and produce from Africa.
1Kings 10:22 For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (RSV)
The fleet of Tarshish took three years to complete the round trip. Allowing for an appropriate time to load up at Ophir, the voyage in each direction must have lasted well over a year. This suggests a route much more roundabout than the direct route via the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean -- a route around Africa.
Most scholars locate Tarshish in the western Mediterranean, possibly at or near the present Strait of Gibraltar. This would have been an ideal place from which to embark on the voyage around the African continent. Some believe that the name Tarshish means “smeltery.”
Many biblical scholars have suggested that Ophir should be identified with present-day Rhodesia [Zimbabwe]. Z. Herman (Peoples, Seas, Ships) brought together evidence showing that the Egyptians obtained various minerals from Rhodesia in earliest times (ibid., pp. 288-289).
The candidates for this area have included Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and the Arabian Peninsula. The matter is also discussed in the papers on the Sons of Shem.
Together with other ancient sources, the Bible shows that all peoples of the Earth had the same language both before and immediately following the Flood. At some stage a rebellion occurred, whereby men presumptuously tried to make a name for themselves. The city and tower of Babel, the epicentre of that rebellion, were both left unfinished, as communication had suddenly become impossible from ‘confusing’ of the common language by the elohim.
Genesis 11:1-9 Now the whole earth had one language and few words. 2 And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Ba'bel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (RSV)
It appears from the prophecy in Zephaniah 3:9 that the world will eventually return to a single pure language, as in those pre-Flood days when they spoke what has been described as Edenic. It is interesting that the land of Cush is mentioned in the same context.
Zephaniah 3:9-10 “Yea, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia [Cush] my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering.” (RSV)
Even the Russian scholars and linguists of the 1960s (e.g. V.V Shevoroshkin), who had no particular interest in confirming the biblical account, concluded that there must have been a single original Mother Tongue, whose origins they traced back, unsurprisingly, to the Ararat mountains.
With regard to written language, Richard Rudgley in Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age (Arrow Books, UK, 1999) says:
It is generally agreed that the earliest known writing comes from the Ancient Near East and first occurred during the period 3500 to 2800 BC. Expert opinions favour 3100 BC as the most likely time for this major historical landmark to have taken place. It was in the city of Uruk (in present-day southern Iraq), epicentre of the Sumerian world, that this great innovation took place. This initial form of writing has been called proto-cuneiform … It was followed shortly afterwards by the Proto-Elamite script in south-western Iran and, a little later, by Egyptian hieroglyphics. About a thousand years later, writing appeared for the first time in the Indus Valley civilisation (p. 48).
Egyptian hieroglyphs are thus seen as a later invention, presumably a development from the pictorial proto- or pre-cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing of Sumeria.
Rudgley also noted that some language experts “believe that it is simply impossible for historical linguists to say anything of value – let alone certainty – about the state of any language whatsoever before about 4000 BP [before present].” (ibid., p. 46).
In addition, the idea of a long-standing connection between Mesopotamia and Egypt is strengthened by the linguistic similarities between the two cultures. In his earlier work Legend, David Rohl wrote:
[T]here are clear indications, based on detailed comparative linguistic studies, that ancient Egyptian was influenced by the Semitic languages of Mesopotamia. Indeed, it seems that the two languages stem from a single original mother tongue. The point at which the two separated from each other is hard to pinpoint but there is no doubt that it was way back in the distant past. As the great Semiticist, William Foxwell Albright, wrote in 1970:
If a language community splits into two or more groups which are subsequently and immediately isolated from one another, the language of each group will continue to evolve. But because there is no fixed direction for linguistic change, these languages will gradually diverge from one another in both form and content, until, after a suitable time, they will have become quite distinct. … Although Egyptian is not to be placed within the Semitic family, there are few grammatical features which can be considered alien to that group. A close genetic relationship is thus indicated and accepted; only on details is there a divergence of scholarly opinion. [Albright & Lambdin, ‘The Evidence of Language’ in CAH I:1,1970, pp. 124,133]
We do not only have the vocabulary of Mesopotamia and Egypt to consider but also the basic structure of the two language groups. Although less obvious to a non-specialist, the rules of language are a better indicator of a common linguistic origin … and a good number of Egyptian words can be traced back to Semitic originals. However, one crucial little word is very important to our discussion of the origins of the pharaonic state. The concept of maat, ‘divine truth’ or ‘cosmic order’ is fundamental to Egyptian royal theology … The word maat is again a feminine word which carries an unpronounced ‘t’ ending and we would therefore expect it to be pronounced something like ‘ma’ or ‘mua’. It is interesting to note that the Sumerian word for the elements of cosmic order is me.
This linguistic clue aside, the greater part of the Egyptian vocabulary appears to be native to the Nile valley and may be of African -- what we call Hamitic -- origins. This would be consistent with the idea that the Nakada II newcomers had initially spent an intermediate period in a third geographical location where they adopted new terms from the local inhabitants which better described their more exotic environment. One such African location may have been Punt. Some of the migrators could then have moved on up into the Nile valley where again they would have quickly adapted to their new home by readily incorporating elements of vocabulary from the local population. Indeed, as a minority group, they would undoubtedly have been forced to adopt the local tongue in order to communicate with the majority. This whole process may have spanned several generations, by which time the original mother-tongue of the migrating clan would have become submerged, only surfacing as a small percentage of the total haraonic vocabulary. …
Ancient Egyptian is classified within the Hamito-Semitic group of languages which include Berber, Tuareg and Cushitic. The latter is spoken by the indigenous folk who live in the geographical territory of modern Sudan and Ethiopia. … Thus ‘Cushitic’ was spoken by the descendants of Cush and the broader term ‘Hamitic’, used for the languages of north-east Africa, is derived from Ham … In adopting these biblical terms for the linguistics of the ancient world, nineteenth-century scholars were actually conforming to the historical picture which is beginning to emerge from our own investigations. Their use of biblical terminology may not have been so far from the actual reality. (op. cit., pp. 323-326)
The Northern Cushites spoke another language system related to the Uralic-Altaic systems. Although from above, as would be expected, there is a recognisable connection between at least two of the patriarchal language stems. Along with many others, the late Lithuanian archaeologist Marjia Gimbutas proposed that the area north of the Caucasus and the Black and Caspian Seas was the original ‘homeland’ of the Indo-European languages (see Proto-Indo-European Culture, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1970). The 20th-century language scholar, Frederick Bodmer, added:
Though the Semitic and Hamitic group diverge widely, their kinship is generally recognized. They share more root-words than can be explained by borrowing; and they have some common grammatical peculiarities (The Loom of Language, Geo. Allen & Unwin Ltd, London, 1944, p. 420ff.).
Quite apart from genetics and archaeology, therefore, we have the linguistic record as a means of tracing the migrations of people throughout the world.
In subsequent papers in this series we will look at the various tribes and groups descended from Ham through his four sons down to the present day.
The curse of Canaan
The grievous sin of Noah’s son or grandson is recounted in Genesis 9. Its far-reaching implications, including slavery, are discussed below.
Genesis 9:18-27 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled. 20 Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; 21 and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest [younger: KJV] son had done to him, 25 he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers." 26 He also said, "Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave." 27 God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave." (RSV)
Some are of the opinion that the curse of Canaan involves racial superiority, and that the prophecy about Canaan (also a ben or son of Noah) being made a slave to his brothers and their descendants (vv. 25-27) directly condoned the enslavement of black people. This view was prevalent during the 18th-20th centuries even among Bible-believing Christians. It was always assumed that Ham himself was a black man, however, only one of his sons, Cush, has a name meaning black. The sons of Cush are widespread and his descendants are in Northeast and West Africa in both C and B Haplogroups, but they are also the ancestors of the HG C Australian Aboriginals (Hg. C4), some Indians but also the Mongols and some East Asians, Maori, Chippewa or Nadine, Cheyenne and Apache and the C3 element of the Maya Amerindians and the forebear of the black tribes of both Africa and India. It is probable that Ham’s wife was also the mtDNA Haplogroup L, which is now confined to Africa (in L1 and L2). Eve herself must have been red to dark-skinned, as was Adam.
Canaan was absorbed into a number of nations, including the modern Jews, as the Hg E3b element for one. The most common element in Jews is E3b1c which was the old E3b3. It originated in Canaan.
As will be shown in later papers, that the sons of Ham were in fact the progenitors of widely divergent groups of people, from Malians to Maori, and from Mongols to Moroccans, only some of whom were black-skinned. The paper The Genetic Origin of the Nations (No. 265) gives the various Haplogroups (Hg) to which many of the sons of Ham belong, in both modern people groups and countries where they predominate. These are summarised as follows:
Central African Pygmy
Hg B is found essentially in sub-Saharan Africa. Hg A & B are most common in Africa and in African-Americans.
These Hg C groups moved from Africa and the Middle East to India and developed form there moving into various areas of central Asia, which in turn became the origin for the entire Mongol and Maori Pacific systems. The Northern Polynesians are also part Hg O related to the Chinese and Malays.
Hg D groups tend to share a common linguistic system with those of Uralic-Altaic languages although many of those languages are also Japhethite lines of N and R1.
Both Hg D and Hg E stem from the YAP division (M145, M213) thus the occupants of both Canaan and Egypt were from a common YDNA root and that division, as Hg D, is found in all the Asian Negritos of the Andamans and in India and in South-East Asia, and comprised over 20% of Japanese and Tibetans and a large section of Sumatrans.
This group is found mainly in North Africa, but with some found in the Middle East and Southern Europe with large concentrations in Greece. Many Jews are of this group coming from the occupation of Canaan and from the Mixed Multitude. It is also found in Egypt and North Africa. The premise is that it came from Africa but it actually moved into Africa and spread from there.
Forms the Root origin of the sons of Japheth and Shem and all other Haplogroups.
One unexpected result of the racial superiority theory (supposedly) was the inter-tribal wars between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda during the 1990s. The Wikipedia article gives details.
Hamitic theory in Rwanda
In Rwanda, the Hamitic hypothesis was a racialist hypothesis created by John Hanning Speke which stated that the "Hamitic" Tutsi people were superior to the "Bantu" Hutus because they were deemed to be more "White" in their facial features, and thus destined to rule over the Hutus.
The fact is that the Tutsis came in to Rwanda from the North East and were assumed to have Semitic lines from the Hebrew offshoots in Ethiopia. The Churches, both Roman Catholic and Anglican and even the Seventh-Day Adventists, actually compiled records on the Tutsis and then provided those records to the killing squads which they paid to engage in the massacres, and the nuns carried jerry cans of petrol to burn down the buildings in which the Tutsi victims took shelter. There were a number of bishops, ministers and nuns charged with genocide and other crimes, convicted and sent to prison for the offences. A story is contained in the web site www.holocaustrevealed.org.
The Bible is racially neutral and refers only to a curse on Canaan son of Ham for the actions that either Ham or Canaan perpetrated on Noah after the Flood.
There is only one name that has any indication of the term colour. Cush means black; Ham means hot or multitude. Yet, there are a number of nations of Cushite descent that are not black at all, but range from racially white to Asiatic, Polynesian or some of Amerindian descent. The YDNA groups are the only way some can be differentiated. The greatest man in ancient times was Nimrod, son of Cush, and it was he that established the cities of the Ancient Middle East (Gen. 10:6-11).
The curse uttered by Noah against Canaan was carried out and the Canaanites were placed within the nations of both Shem and Japheth.
That aspect of the curse of Canaan will be dealt with in the paper Sons of Ham Part V: Canaan (No. 45E). These people – whose land was Palestine, to Tyre and Sidon, at present in Lebanon – were subjugated by and absorbed into the Hebrews and surrounding nations. They became slaves of slaves to false gods and were to be liberated in Christ. We will explain what was to happen to them and how they were affected by this punishment and how it is to be overcome. These aspects are also dealt with in the papers The Sons of Shem (No. 212 A-G). As we progress it will be obvious that the sons of Ham made a very significant contribution to world culture, knowledge and history, and at times have dominated the major part of the known world.
The overall aspects of slavery have been inflicted on all nations over time, and it is quite inappropriate to discuss slavery in relation to the sons of Ham alone, even though they themselves, through their intertribal conflicts in Africa, created a slave trade many centuries and even millennia ago. The Ashanti were the largest native traders since at least the 8th century CE, and their economy utterly depended upon it; but they were only one of several African states who dealt in mass slavery. African slavery was brutal, with recorded instances of beatings, rape and mutilation. Shaka Zulu ruled with absolute cruelty and enslaved nations.
That trade was taken up by the Arabs and North African Hamites and turned into a worldwide trade in human misery. It became, in effect, another type of Exodus situation and allowed the general development of millions. Its racist development in the USA is an indictment on the entire white civilisation there and in Britain. Slavery was a function of all the major powers in all continents. The great powers up until Ottoman times were ruthless in the treatment of slaves, and especially runaways, no matter what the tribe or colour. White slaves were forbidden to gain literacy among the Greeks and other nations.
The year 2007, or 30/120, marks the bicentennial of the passing of a Parliamentary Bill to end Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, following protracted campaigns by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and others. The Civil War saw the end of slavery in the US, but that was not the intention of the war.
At its height, the trade provided 40,000 African slaves a year for the British alone, while it has been calculated that about 28 million Africans in total were transported between 1450 and 1807. Three times as many were sent to the sugar plantations of Jamaica as to America.
A lesser-known fact is that Denmark, although only a minor player in the slave trade was actually the first country to legislate against it. This was followed by several of the northern American states. Most prominent among the British abolitionists were the humanitarian Quakers.
White slavery continues unabated today in the sex trade.
The Bible is clear on the regulation of slavery in societies that tolerate this aberration in human misery.
The Bible does not make any elevation in racial hierarchies but, in fact, proclaims that the Plan of God is to merge all nations into one people under the twelve Apostles as the twelve tribes of Israel; and all men are to be saved, as salvation is of the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.
We will proceed to develop the story of the Sons of Ham and watch as they progress throughout the world and the pages of history, making a great global impact, as we can see from the distribution of their DNA Haplogroups.