Israelites Vs. Ishmaelites - Assyria Vs. Aram?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Israelites Vs. Ishmaelites - Assyria Vs. Aram?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

I have recently wanted to really nail down the ethnic composition of the ancient Middle East to try and make sense of first century geopolitics. One conclusion was that the Assyrian identity fits a bit comfortably with the Israelite identity.

Here is my evidence:
  • The loyalty of captive Israelites to Neo-Assyria during their last stand at Harran
  • A notion that the paucity of royal records for Old Assyria corresponds to the rule of the Hyksos, suggesting these were Assyrian nobles (we know they began as nomads)
  • The name "Iturea" which may derive from "Athurea" and suggest an Assyrian presence as late as the first century in Judea. Also, the name Asher for Israel's tribe which is assigned Lebanon/Iturea as its homeland
  • The similarities of the golden calf cult of Bethel with Hadad, a key Assyrian god. Ashur's identity is unknown, but his temple was found with a solar disk.
  • Accounting for other fertile crescent ethnicities (Amorite, Chaldean, Aramean) as non-Israelite, but Assyria remains a political identity.
Regardless, this isn't to say Israel was Assyrian, but rather they would have shared a common proto-Assyrian identity of fertile crescent nomads.

Why then do we not have a generic notion of "Semitic nomads"? Why are "Arabs" worshipping Hadad and Atargatis, but "Jews" are in Nisibis and Babylon, "Israelite" tribes roam Arabia before the time of Mohammed, and so forth? What is the difference between an Arab and and Israelite? An Aramean and an Israelite?

One clue has come from mythology. I can't help but see the parallels between the story of Ba'al Hadad and receiving the help of Kothar-wa-Khasis in building a golden calf (or advice to produce a son from a hefer) so he could offer it as a substitute to death, and that of the Apis bull. Ra and Hadad are both solar deities.

Then we have Osiris and Set, sons of Ra, having a mortal intrigue. Cain kills Abel, and Seth replaces Abel as the favored son. What if Seth is another name for Cain? Set was a god of the great beyond which lay past the banks of the Nile. The Hyksos chose to honor him over Osiris.

Ra began as Atum-Ra. Atum's name suggest the completion of creation. This reminds of Adam, and Adam's name has been used in Jewish mysticism to refer to the soul of the world. We see the Upper Egyptian Ogdoad as an entirely different religious system to the one of Lower Egypt which has so many parallels to Semitic religion. Amun is their chief god.

For context, Japheth, Shem and Ham remind of Iapetus, Shamash (solar deity) and Hamon (another way to say Hamon). This suggests that the biblical narrative is born of an ancient consciousness of differing religious systems, including the knowledge of where beliefs intersect.

So, one can see Abraham as a potential "Atum-Ra-Hamon" (after Atum-Ra we get Amun-Ra). Ra's sons Osiris and Set are our Cain/Seth and Abel. They are also Abraham's Isaac and Ishmael.

Viewing the Hyksos as cultural forebears of the Assyrian and Israelite cultures, their sympathy with Set allows us to identify Isaac as our Seth, and Ishmael as our Abel.

So, Isaac and Abraham would be a retelling of the Osiris myth (or Cain and Abel), but with Set as the favored son, and where Set lives and neither brother murders the other.

This would leave the Lower Egyptian people as our "Ishmaelites".

Now, if we assume that the empire of the New Kingdom, with its colonies in Syria, sent excess population to places like Homs and Damascus, now we can explain the genesis of the Aramean ethnicity.

The Ishmaelite "Arabs" as descendants of Egyptian colonists in Syria, and the Israelites as the Assyrian or proto-Assyrian ethnicity in Canaan and the fertile crescent. Both sharing a similar religious system, with certain arcane differences on minor points.

This is just a hypothesis.
Post Reply