The Jewish people is probably the most famous in human history. If not for their brave deeds, then for the spread of their history through the Bible. According to this history, the descendants of Abraham first settled in Canaan, then moved to Egypt, where their number increased considerably. Being turned into slaves by the Egyptians, they returned to Canaan, led by Moses. After his death, Joshua was the one who took over the leadership of the Israelites and conquered Canaan. In 1047 BC, the united kingdom of Israel and Judah was founded under the reign of Saul. Under the rule of David, the kingdom became a major world power. The peak was reached during the time of Solomon, David’s son, who turned Jerusalem into a metropolis. According to Hebrew tradition, he built the first temple of Yahweh, the god of the Jews. After Solomon died, the kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah. The Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC, destroying the temple and deportating the locals to Babylon; the rest of the Jews fled to Egypt. The Persians conquered Babylon and freed the Jews from slavery in 539 BC. Returning to Jerusalem, the Jews rebuilt the temple of Solomon, which was destroyed much later by the Romans. Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, which included Judea, in 332 BC. After his death, the biblical territory fell under Syrian rule. The Jews rebelled around 162 BC, creating an independent state, the Hasmonean kingdom, which disappeared in 63 BC, when the Romans appointed the Herodians, Rome’s vassals, to rule the kingdom. In the year 6 AD, the Romans conquered Judea, transforming it into a Roman province. In 66 AD, a Jewish rebellion broke out, which lasted four years and led to the destruction of Jerusalem and, implicitly, of the Great Temple by the Romans. In 135 AD, the Romans changed the name of Judea, Galilee and Paralia to Syria Palaestina or Roman Palestine.
Is this history entirely true? Part of it, especially the beginning, has come to us through the Bible. Can we consider it a certainty only because it is written in a book? Or do we need evidence, such as archaeological discoveries? Is the Bible truly the word of a deity, as Jews and Christians believe?
The true history of the Jewish people is different from what we know today. A group of Mesopotamians, led by Abraham, left their homeland at the command of their god and became nomads. After wandering through Mesopotamia, Canaan and Egypt, they decided to settle in Canaan, where they lived among the locals. After the arrival of the Hyksos in Egypt between 1800 BC and 1650 BC, Abraham’s descendants followed them. They settled on the edge of Egypt, in the Nile Delta, in Avaris, the former capital of the Hyksos. The daughter of a Jew (called Yuya by the Egyptians), Tiye, married the pharaoh Amenhotep III in 1337 BC, becoming the great queen of Egypt. Their son, Akhenaten (nicknamed Mose, meaning „The Heir”), led a group of people, made of Israelites and his Egyptian followers, out of Egypt. In the Sinai desert they mixed with the Midianite tribes and all headed towards Canaan, where they mixed with the local population. They were never a great power, and Canaan at the time was a poor territory consisting of small cities and villages. They had no stable religion, so they adopted the deities of the places they wandered through while they were nomads and those of their new neighbors, the Canaanites. After the Babylonian occupation, the Jews were deported to Babylon, one of the most advanced cities of that era. They were probably impressed by both Babylonian culture and the well-organized religion. Upon their return to Jerusalem, a few priests, led by Ezra, decided to apply what they saw in Babylon, especially in religion. Namely to have a firm, well-established religion, just like the Babylonians.
The priests of Ezra adopted the Babylonian lunar calendar, which is still obvious today, as the months of the Jewish year are identical to those of the Babylonians. They even organized their priesthood according to the Babylonian model. Deeply impressed by the temple of Marduk in Babylon, they built the temple of Yahweh in the same way. They even adopted Marduk as the supreme deity, renouncing their old gods. Because any organized religion had holy writings in addition to priests and temples, the priests of Ezra created their own mythology, copying parts of the Canaanite, Babylonian and Persian religion of Zarathustra. Those who returned from Egypt added parts of the Egyptian cults. Once the stories that would form the new religion were established, the Jewish priests wrote them down. In the end, the most representative writings were selected and compiled, resulting in the „holy” scriptures that today form the Tanakh or the Old Testament. Here are some of the plagiarism evidence, which proves that the Jewish scriptures are made up of the legends of the peoples they came into contact:
– The seven days of the biblical Genesis (six for the supreme god to create the world and one for him to rest) correspond to the seven clay tablets on which the Babylonian myth of Creation, Enuma Elish, was written. The written version of Enuma Elish dates back to the Bronze Age and the Jews had access to this myth during their Babylonian captivity.
– The biblical Garden of Eden was located in Mesopotamia, namely in the place where the gods lived according to the Mesopotamian legends. The name „eden” comes from the Sumerian word „edin” („the house of the gods”), which became „edinu” („steppe” or „plain”) for the Akkadians.
– The tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, which Adam and Eve ate from, is not a Hebrew concept. In a Sumerian myth, the goddess Inanna asked her brother Utu to help her descend to an area where grew trees that would help her obtain knowledge of sexuality. The sun god helped her, so Inanna, after eating from the tree of knowledge, became the goddess of love. Similarly, the tree of life is also „borrowed” from the Sumerians. On a clay tablet, one can see Enki and the priest Adapa sitting and chatting around the tree of life. There are also snakes in the landscape, which would look copied from the first biblical book if it were not thousands of years older than the writings of the Jews.
– Lilith, Adam’s first wife and the mother of demons in Jewish mythology, is a copy of the Mesopotamian lilitu demons, mentioned in Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian writings. She appears in the Bible in the Book of Isaiah, in a list of „unclean” animals that will live in Edom, struck by Yahweh’s anger: „The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; Lilith also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (34:14). In the King James Version, Lilith was replaced with „the screech owl„.
– The name of the biblical Satan comes from the Egyptian god Sutah (Seth for the Greeks), who was also called Setan. Initially, Satan was seen as a neutral entity, sometimes even positive, but things changed after the return of the Jews from Babylon. Influenced by the Persian religion of Zarathustra, where divine entities were divided into benevolent and malevolent, the Jews transformed Satan into the enemy of Yahweh and mankind. The battle between Enlil and Marduk being encountered in most religions, it is naturally for the god of the storm to be depicted as an enemy of the Jewish god.
– The story of Cain (Qayin in Hebrew) and Abel (Hebel) is a copy of the Sumerian legend of the two brother gods, Enlil and Enki. In the Bible, Abel the shepherd was killed by his brother, Cain the farmer. In Sumer, Enki taught the people shepherding and Enlil taught them agriculture. Enki was the first ruler of the Earth and his brother killed him and took his place. The same myth can be found in Egypt, where the shepherd Osiris, the first pharaoh of Egypt, was killed by his brother, Seth, who took the throne. Although an exact translation of the names of the two sons of Adam and Eve has not been found, the answer can be hidden in Mesopotamian languages. In Akkadian (the language spoken by the Babylonians), Abel means „Lord of the waters” („a” = „water” and „bel” = „lord”). The Sumerian Enki, who was killed by his brother, was the god of waters, and the Babylonians called him Ea, which means „House of waters”. In Sumerian, Cain means „Accusing mouth” („ca” = „mouth” and „in” = „to accuse”). Enlil often accused mankind and his brother before the supreme god, An. Satan in the Bible, who comes from the name of the god Seth (the Egyptian version of the Sumerian Enlil), was also an accuser, his main attribute being accusations against souls brought to the judgment of Yahweh. The story in which Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to their god, who preferred the shepherd’s offerings, is identical to the Sumerian one in which the goddess Inanna, to choose a husband, asked the shepherd Dumuzi and the farmer Enkidu to present the fruits of their labor. Being more pleased with the roast than the porridge, Inanna chose the shepherd.
– Seth, the Greek name of the third son of Adam and Eve, is the name assigned by the Greeks to the Egyptian god of the desert and storm.
– The legend of the Tower of Babel is also copied from Babylon. Babylonians believed that, a long time ago, Marduk asked his subjects to build a tower to the heavens. Enlil did not agree with this and tored down the tower, while also confusing the tongues of Marduk’s followers. The Jews not only heard the legend of the tower during the Babylonian captivity, but they actually had the opportunity to see it. Kings Nabopalassar and Nebuchadnezzar II had recently reconstructed it at the command of the god Marduk. The Old Testament gives the same Mesopotamian location of the tower, the Biblical land of Shinar being Sumer.
– The biblical Deluge is a copy of the Mesopotamian Flood myth. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian composition consisting of several Sumerian legends and poems, Utnapishtim is the man who, advised by Enki, built an ark in which he brought one pair of each animal species. After the waters receded, he and his family repopulated the Earth. The Jews undoubtedly had access to this myth as well during their Babylonian captivity.
– Moses was not Jewish, as Jewish mythology claims, but Egyptian. The Bible reports that, when she found the child among the reeds, the Pharaoh’s daughter named him Mosheh because, she said, „I drew him out of the water„. But in this case he should have been called Moshui („The one who was taken out”), not Mosheh. Besides, if he was adopted by an Egyptian woman and raised as an Egyptian prince, it would make more sense for him to receive an Egyptian name, not a Hebrew one. Especially because the chances of an Egyptian princess knowing Hebrew are slim. As Sigmund Freud noticed, the name Mosheh does not come from Hebrew, but from the Egyptian word „mos„, which means „child, heir”. As demonstrated by several researchers, including Egyptian writer Ahmed Osman, the biblical Mosheh / Moses is none other than the rebel pharaoh Akhenaten. The Jews hide the Egyptian origin of their most important prophet, a fact also noted by the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
– The biblical story of Moses being left by his mother in a basket on the Nile and being saved by the daughter of the pharaoh is well known. In his autobiography, the Akkadian king Sargon the Great claims that his mother was a high priestess in the city of Azupiranu while his father was unknown. After secretly giving birth to Sargon, the priestess placed him in a rush basket coated with bitumen and set him adrift on the Euphrates river to avoid his death. He was found and adopted by Akki, the king’s gardener. Later, Sargon became the lover of the goddess Ishtar, who gave him the throne. Since Sargon lived long before Moses, the plagiarism of the Akkadian story, as Freud emphasized, is obvious. The Israelis learned the story of Sargon’s birth during the Babylonian exile, and when they began to compose their sacred texts, they included that part in the legend of Moses. Even the fact that in the Bible we are told only the name of Moses’ mother, while his father remains unknown, is identical to the fact that only Sargon’s mother was known, while his father was not. The Akkadian king’s story is possibly a copy of an even older Egyptian myth. After giving birth to Horus, the true heir to the throne, the goddess Isis hid him among the reeds on the Nile bank to avoid him being found by the usurping pharaoh Seth, who had killed Osiris and taken the throne. Finding out that Osiris had an heir, Seth undoubtedly would have tried to eliminate his rival. So, the goddess raised her son secretly until the boy was old enough to claim his rights. Isis, Horus’ mother, was assisted in raising the child by her sister, Nephtys, the wife of Pharaoh Seth, just as the daughter of the pharaoh in the biblical story was helped by the mother of the child to raise Moses.
– The ten commandments of Moses are copied from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As a Pharaoh, Moses / Akhenaten had access to this book, probably during the time when he was a priest in Heliopolis.
– In chapter 3 of Exodus, Moses wanted to find out the identity of the deity who entrusted him with the mission of freeing the Jews. „And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I am that I am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you” (3:13-14). The answer of the god not only completely confused the poor prophet, but would have had the same effect on the Israelites to whom he was sent. And that’s only because the translation is incorrect. In Hebrew, the deity’s response was „Ehyeh asher ehyeh„. „Asher” means „happy, blessed” and „ehyeh” was interpreted as „I am”. Therefore, a complete translation would be „I am the happy / blessed I am”, which still makes no sense. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the god used the word „ehyeh” as a proper noun, declining his identity to be recognized by Moses and the Israelites: „I am the blessed Ehyeh (…) Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: Ehyeh hath sent me unto you„. The Hebrew „ehyeh” is pronounced the same as the Akkadian „Ea„, the name of one of the great gods of Babylon, none other than the Sumerian Enki. The god would not have told his prophet an ambiguous sentence, considering that he entrusted him with the mission of convincing the Israelites that he had been sent by their divinity to free them. Therefore, the correct response of the deity is: „I am the blessed Ea (…) Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: Ea hath sent me unto you„. The use of a Babylonian name proves that the „holy” scriptures were conceived after the return from exile, but also proves that the Jews adopted Babylonian deities. This play on words, in which the Akkadian „Ea” was replaced with the Hebrew „ehyeh„, is not uncommon, as the Jews often encoded information in their religious writings. For example, in just a few pages of the written Kabbalah, Jewish initiates hid a wealth of information that has not yet been fully identified by researchers to this day.
– After 15 years of research, Israeli archaeologist Yohanan Aharoni concluded that during Joshua’s time no city was conquered by the Jews, as those cities mentioned in the Bible no longer existed for a long time. Historian Manfred Claus also considers the military takeover of Canaan to be a made up story. According to archaeologist Israel Finkenstein, more than 90% of researchers have agreed that there was no Exodus from Egypt of the Israelite people, and therefore no conquest of Canaan. Jericho was not destroyed by Joshua, but much earlier, in 1549 BC. The same goes for the city of Ai, whose name means „Pile of Ruins”. However, an Exodus did take place, but not in the way described in the Old Testament. In reality, two sources were used and compiled into a single story. One represents the few hundred Israelites mixed with Egyptians and Madianite Bedouins led by Akhenaten. The second source is the Exodus of the Hyksos from Egypt to Canaan after being driven out by the Theban Ahmose I in 1550 BC. As the walls of Jericho are estimated to have fallen around 1549 BC, it is possible that the Hyksos caused this. It is also likely that they conquered the other Canaanite cities mentioned in the Bible. According to the Egyptian priest Manetho, it was the Hyksos who built Jerusalem. The Jews assigned the actions of the Hyksos to the small group of Akhenaten, resulting in the great Biblical Exodus.
– Circumcision, the sacred covenant of the Jews with Yahweh, was not invented by Abraham. In reality, Egyptians practiced circumcision for thousands of years, as proven by temple drawings and mummies. As Sigmund Freud noted, it is more likely that the Egyptian Moses / Akhenaten brought the practice to the Jews, not Abraham.
– The Ark of the Covenant, in which Moses placed the ten divine commandments, is a copy of the Ark of Sin (Enki), the Akkadian god of the Moon. The Babylonian model of Moses’ Ark can be seen through its decoration with cherubim (sphinxes), which were guardians of secrets in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
– It is assumed that David and Solomon ruled in the 10th century BC. Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein claims that the biblical accounts of their reigns are fictional. David could not have fought Goliath of Gath because the town was destroyed over a century before that time. The fact that Goliath was dressed like a Greek mercenary and the story has Homeric elements shows that it could only have been written much later. Even the Old Testament is confusing about the giant’s killer. While in the First Book of Kings David is the hero, in the Second Book the killer of Goliath is the unknown Elhanan. When archaeologists found a pot inscribed with the name Goliath among the ruins of a former Philistine city, they assumed it was an evidence of the accuracy of the biblical story. However, a name inscribed on a pot only proves there was at least one person with the name Goliath among the Philistines, not that this person was tall or that he fought David. The story of the battle between David and Goliath seems to be a copy of the Egyptian Sinuhe’s autobiography, a nobleman in the service of Princess Nefru, the daughter of Pharaoh Amenemhat I of the 20th century BC. Sinuhe recounted that he fled from Egypt, fought a „strong man” from Retjenu (Canaan) and finally returned to be buried in his native land. The killing of Goliath by throwing a stone at his head seems to be copied from Scandinavian mythology, where the god Thor killed the giant Hrungnir by throwing his hammer at his head.
– The same Professor Finkelstein claims that the names of David and Solomon do not appear in any contemporary extrabiblical texts and that no archaeological discovery can support their existence. There is not even a single piece of evidence that a great Israelite empire existed in the 10th century BC as claimed in the Old Testament. David’s military feats are actually those of the Egyptian pharaoh Tuthmose III. In the Bible, David fought at Rabah against the Ammonites and Syrians, then defeated the king of Zobah, before re-establishing his rule at the Euphrates. According to Egyptian sources, it was not David but Tuthmose III who led his army in Canaan around the end of 1469 BC. He fought against the Syrians and Canaanites outside the city of Megiddo. During the seven-month siege of Megiddo, the Pharaoh lived in Jerusalem. The enemies managed to escape and fled to Kadesh on the Orontes River, a city conquered by the Pharaoh in 1461 BC. Three years later, he crossed the Euphrates and defeated the king of Mitanni. „Thoth” or „Tuth„, the first part of the Pharaoh’s name, written „Tht„, in Hebrew becomes „Dwd„, the root of King David’s name (Dawid in Hebrew).
– According to archaeological findings, there were no monuments or writing in Israel during the time period attributed to the reigns of David and Solomon. This means that it would have been impossible for King David to write his famous psalms. They were written much later, after the return of the Jews from Babylon. We do not know exactly if the unknown author of the psalms composed them on his own, but we know that at least one, Psalm 104, is a copy of a poem by Pharaoh Akhenaten.
– If during Solomon’s time there were no monuments in Israel, it means that the Temple of Solomon did not exist. There is not even a single evidence of the existence of that First Temple. In reality, impressed by the magnificence of the temple of Marduk in Babylon, the Jews built the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem after the same model. To avoid being accused of plagiarism, they claimed that their temple was a re-edition of an older one, built by Solomon.
– There is no evidence of the existence of King Solomon. But even if he really existed, the legends surrounding him are pure fabrications. The wisdom which he was supposed to be gifted with was unknown to contemporary neighboring peoples, while his deeds were „borrowed” from the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, Akhenaten’s father. In the Bible, Solomon’s father founded the Israelite Empire and he maintained diplomatic relationships; in reality, Amenhotep III’s father founded the Egyptian Empire and he maintained diplomatic relationships. It is said that Solomon married many princesses; Amenhotep did the same, marrying two princesses from Syria, two from Mitanni, two from Babylon and one from Arzawa. In his twilight years, Solomon worshiped Astarte and Moloch; in twilight years, Amenhotep received a statue of the goddess Ishtar from King Tushratta of Mitanni, to heal his toothaches. Solomon changed the military organization, introducing chariots as an essential weapon; Amenhotep III organized chariots as a separate war unit. Solomon united Israel with other parts of the empire, having 12 governors; Amenhotep organized the Egyptian Empire into 12 administrative sections. During Solomon’s reign, the Israelite Empire became increasingly fragile; problems arose in southern Palestine and in Edom, Rezon conquered Damascus and Solomon’s influence diminished in Syria. During Amenhotep’s reign, the Egyptian Empire became increasingly fragile; rebellions arose in southern Palestine and Edom, his influence declined in Syria and the Hittite king Suppiluliuma threatened northern Syria, including Damascus. Solomon gave 20 cities from the land of Galilee to Hiram, the king of Tyre; Amenhotep gave the cities of Tyre, Huzu and Zerbitu in Galilee to Abimelech. Solomon built cities for supplies and garrisons and rebuilt the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Milo, Lower Beth-Horon, Balat and Tadmor; Amenhotep rebuilt Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Milo, Beth-Shean and Lachish. Solomon built the wall of Jerusalem, the First Temple and a palace; Amenhotep III built a palace in Thebes and temples in almost all the Canaanite cities where he had garrisons.
– The story of Lot’s wife’s death is a copy of that of Orpheus’s wife, Eurydice, from Greek mythology. In the Greek myth, Orpheus attempted to save his deceased wife from the Underworld. The gods Hades and Persephone allowed him to take his wife back, on the condition that he not look back until both had reached the land of the living. However, due to his anxiety, Orpheus turned back and looked at her once he reached the surface. And Eurydice, who had not yet reached the surface, returned to the land of the dead for ever. In the biblical myth, Lot, his wife and their two daughters were rescued from Sodom by two angels, who forbade them from stopping or looking back. Lot’s wife chose to desobey the command and, like Orpheus, looked back, instantly becoming „a pillar of salt„.
– The Babylonian influence on the scriptures is best seen in the Book of Esther. Far from being a historical truth, this book features its protagonists Esther, a Jewish woman who became queen of the Persian Empire, and Mordecai, her adoptive father. There is no evidence that Emperor Xerxes (Xshyarsha) had a wife named Esther. Instead, there is no doubt that the names of the heroes of this biblical book, Esther and Mordecai (Ester and Mordokay in Hebrew), are the names of the greatest gods of Babylon, Ishtar and Marduk. The story was made up as an explanation for the holiday of Purim, the unknown author probably used the names of Babylonian gods as a homage to them.
– The story of Job, who suffered many losses as a result of a bet between Yahweh and Satan, is inspired by the Legend of Keret, a Ugaritic poem written during 1500 – 1200 BC. King Keret of Khuburu, the son of the god El, lost his wives, children and brothers, becoming the sole survivor of his family. Furthermore, the gods punished him with a cruel illness. The biblical Job, like King Keret, lost his children, health and wealth because of some deities.
Although it is claimed that the Bible was written by different patriarchs, the truth is quite different. All of the Old Testament scriptures were written by the priests of Ezra after their return from the Babylonian captivity. Most patriarchs did not know how to write, so they could not have written the texts even if they did existed. The most intense controversy revolves around the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Although Moses is considered the author, researchers have shown that this is impossible. If Moses had written them, first of all he would have to use the hieroglyphic system, the only form of writing he knew. Secondly, he would have spoken about himself in the first person, not the third. And finally, he could not have written about events that took place after his death. On 16th January 1948, the Secretary of the Vatican Biblical Commission acknowledged that Moses’ Pentateuch was not written by a single author, but comes from different sources. Those sources are the priests of Ezra who modified legends copied from other peoples to fit the purpose of the Jews.
Contrary to the official version, Jews were never monotheistic, but polytheistic, like the rest of the ancient peoples. Pharaoh Akhenaten, called Moses by Hebrew folklore, tried to impose monotheism on his followers, including the Israelites whom he took out of Egypt, but without success. Until their return from Babylon, the Israelites and Judeans oscillated between various gods, as the Old Testament proves successfully and from which the belief in multiple gods is clear:
– „Thous shalt have none other gods before me” (Deuteronomy 5:7). If there had been only one god, this statement would have been pointless. Instead, Moses’ god does not declare himself the only deity, but only asks to be the only one worshiped.
– „Yahweh will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.” (Book of Zephaniah 2:11)
– „Yahweh standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” (Psalm 82:1)
– „For Yahweh is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all the gods.” (Psalm 96:4)
– „For thou, Yahweh, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.” (Psalm 97:9)
– „And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.” (Exodus 23:13).
– „Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” (Exodus 23:24).
– „And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Exodus 32:1). So Aaron took their gold earrings and made „a molten calf„, which some believe it depicted the god Baal.
– „Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 44:15).
– „When the Philistines took the ark of Yahweh, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of Yahweh. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again” (1 Samuel 5:2-3). Dagon was the fertility god of the Assyro-Babylonians (who called him Dagana or Daguna), a deity that became the god of crops and fishing among the West-Semitic peoples.
– „And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of El Elyon” (Genesis 14:18). In the Levantine religion (which included Canaan), El was the supreme god.
– King Joram „wrought evil in the sight of Yahweh; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made” (2 Kings 3:2). Baal („Lord”) was a title given to many West-Semitic gods, such as Baal Hadad or Baal Zephon.
– Ahab, the son of Omri, „went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah; and Ahab did more to provoke Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1 Kings 16:31-33). In the King James Version, Asherah was replace with a grove. In Canaan, the goddess Asherah was the wife of the supreme god, El.
– King Asa removed his mother, Maachah, „from being queen, because she had made an idol of Astarte; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron” (1 Kings 15:13). Here, as well, Astarte from the Orthodox Bible was replace with a grove in the King James Version. Astarte is the name given by the Greeks to the Canaanite goddess Attart, Asherah’s sister.
– Asherah was often called by the Semitic peoples „The Queen of Heaven„. In the Book of Jeremiah she has the same epithet: „The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger” (7:18); „But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her (…) But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?” (44:17-19).
– „Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Moloch the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5). In the King James Version, Moloch is called Milcom. Ashtoreth is the Canaanite goddess Attart, called Astarte by the Greeks.
– King Ahazyah „served Baal, and worshiped him, and provoked to anger Yahweh Elohim of Israel, according to all that his father had done” (1 Kings 22:53). „And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease” (2 Kings 1:2). Baalzebub (Ba’al-zebub in Hebrew) is the name given by the Bible‘s editors to Baal Zephon, a Canaanite god who lived on Mount Zephon.
– „Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the Asherah also in Samaria” (2 Kings 13:6). In the King James Version, Asherah was replace with a grove.
– King Manasseh „built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made an Asherah, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.” (2 Kings 21:3)
– „Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the Asherahs, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all.” (2 Chronicles 31:1)
– King Josiah „commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of Yahweh all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel” (2 Kings 23:4). „And he brought out Asherah from the house of Yahweh, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of Yahweh, where the women wove hangings for Asherah” (2 Kings 23:6-7).
– Of all the gods of Canaan, Baal Hadad was Yahweh’s greatest rival. As seen in the Jewish scriptures, many kings adopted Baal’s cult and the people followed. Because of this rivalry, in Chapter 18 of 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah competes against the prophets of Baal, which he kills after winning the competition. In Chapter 10 of 2 Kings, King Jehu ordered all the prophets, priests and worshipers of Baal to be killed. Then the king’s men „brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel” (26-28).
The problem of Jewish polytheism was to change in Babylon. Ezra and his acolytes, impressed by Babylonian civilization, realized that they needed a well-organized religion to reach that level, as was the cult of Marduk. Serving in Babylonian temples, the future priests of Judaism learned all they could about the supreme god of Babylon, whom they recognized as their Yahu or Yahweh. This incorporates „yah„, the Egyptian name of the Moon, and „weh„, which means „to become” in Hebrew. In most world religions, the god called Marduk by the Babylonians was initially seen as a solar deity and later as a lunar one. Therefore, the new god of the Jews was „The One who Became the Moon”. However, not everyone welcomed the adoption of this deity; some Jews remained faithful to the god of Moses / Akhenaten, the Sun Aten. Which is obvious even in the Bible: many prophets of the Old Testament, along with Jesus and John the Baptist of the New Testament, were deeply upset that the Jews had forgotten their god, choosing another one. The Essenes also thought this way, preferring to isolate themselves from the rest of the population because of this sacrilege. Another proof for this is the use of the solar calendar by the Essenes, even though the rest of the Israelites had adopted the lunar one. The transition from one god to another is also reflected in the change of the symbol of the Israelites: from David’s star with five rays they moved to Solomon’s star with six. The star with five rays is the fifth outer planet to the Sun, Jupiter, and the one with six is the sixth planet, Mars. Jupiter was the planet assigned to the Sumerian Enlil and Mars was that of Martu, named Marduk by the Babylonians. Even the name of the state of Israel, although it indicates connections with the gods of other peoples (Is = Ishtar in Babylon, Ra = the supreme god of Egypt, El = the supreme god of Canaan), could be translated as „The One who Fights El / God”, a reference to the fight between Marduk and Enlil, whom the young god replaced. The name Yahweh is usually written YHWH, and the four letters of the name suggests that the god is the fourth ruler of the Earth, after An, Enki and Enlil. In fact, there are a number of obvious similarities between Marduk and Yahweh. Marduk ordered Nebuchadnezzar II from Babylon to go with his army to the west, in Lebanon; in the Old Testament, Yahweh ordered him to attack Egypt and Jerusalem. Marduk decided that the Babylonian devastation would last 70 years; Yahweh decided that the destruction of Jerusalem would last 70 years. Marduk ordered Cyrus the Great to conquer Babylon; Cyrus, „anointed by Yahweh„, was chosen by the god to free the Jews and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. Sennacherib (Sin-ahhi-eriba) conquered Judah and plundered Babylon in 689 BC, on Marduk’s orders; the Bible claims the Assyrian king followed Yahweh’s orders. Marduk punished his people often for their „sins”, just as Yahweh punished the Jewish people. Marduk’s epithet, „god of wrath and forgiveness„, fits perfectly Yahweh, who often became angry at his people but also forgave them after they followed his orders. In the Enuma Elish, Marduk kills the salty water dragon, Tiamat, while the Book of Job, Psalm 73 and Chapter 27 of the Book of Isaiah praise Yahweh for killing the salty water dragon, Leviathan. Yahweh of the Jews is Marduk or Shamash of the Babylonians, Amar Utu, Martu or Utu of the Sumerians, Baal Zephon of the Canaanites, Baldur of the Scandinavians, Apollo of the Greeks and Romans, Horus or Khonsu of the Egyptians, Okuninushi of the Japanese and Illuyanka of the Hittites. Many researchers have reached similar conclusions, such as British scholar Walter Raymond Drake, who in his 1968 book, Gods and Spacemen in the Ancient East, claimed that the Babylonians matched Yahweh / Jehovah with Marduk. In his opinion, „the Jews and Babylonians, semi-Semitic brothers, had the same legends, the same customs, the same gods – but under different names -, all inherited from a common source„, that source being Sumer. Drake also wroted: „It is significant that Hammurabi – a wise and well-intentioned leader – received instructions from Shamash almost at the same time when Abraham spoke with Jehovah at a short distance away; this remarkable coincidence would suggest the possibility that Shamash and Jehovah were one and the same„. Furthermore, „a cuneiform record on a clay cylinder showed that Cyrus was greeted as a true liberator from the tyranny of Nabonidas and Belshazzar; this fact suggests the surprising – but plausible – hypothesis that Jehovah and Marduk were one and the same god„.
In Babylon, Marduk assumed the titles and roles of the other gods and even claimed some of their deeds. The Jews did the same thing with their Yahweh. The deeds of all the deities in the myths they plagiarized for their scriptures were assigned to the Jewish god. For example, in Sumer, Enki and Ninhursag created mankind. The Deluge happened at the request of Enlil, the supreme god An approved the calamity and Enki was the one who taught a mortal how to build an ark to save mankind. It was also Enlil who, in a Babylonian myth, destroyed the Tower of Babel built by Marduk’s followers. In the text Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, Enki is the one who mixed the tongues of people. In the Old Testament, all of these were assigned to Yahweh, in an attempt by the Jews to prove he is the only god. The assimilation of other deities into a single god is easily resulting from the Old Testament scriptures. For example, in the Book of Hosea, Yahweh acknowledges that in the past he was called Baal: „And it shall be at that day, saith Yahweh, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali” (2:16). In the Book of Nahum it is written that „Yahweh hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” (1:3), a description that remind us of Baal, who was called „the rider of the clouds„. However, Yahweh’s absorption of the names and actions of other deities is best observed in his multiple biblical names and epithets:
– „El” was taken from the Levantine religion (which includes Canaan), where El („God”) was the leader of the West-Semitic pantheon, the husband of the goddess Asherah. For the Jews, Yahweh took his name and role, but also his wife. A ceramic inscription from the 8th century BC was discovered in the Sinai desert, in which the author asked for the blessing of „Yahweh and his Asherah„. Although that inscription has disappeared, many similar ones have been discovered. The Old Testament proves that Yahweh and Asherah were worshiped together for a long time. King Manasseh „set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of Yahweh” (2 Chronicles 33:7), „And he set a graven image of Asherah that he had made in the house, of which Yahweh said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever” (2 Kings 21:7); „And he brought out Asherah from the house of Yahweh, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people” (2 Kings 23:6); „And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of Yahweh all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel” (2 Kings 23:4). When the prophet Elijah and King Jehu decided to kill the worshipers of Baal, they left the worshipers of Asherah alone. Because the idea of a wife of God was dangerous, Martin Luther removed the name of the goddess from the Bible, replacing it with a tree or a grove. Thus, in Deuteronomy 16:21, one can read: „Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee„, although the exact translation is „Thou shalt not raise wooden pillars in the form of an idol of Asherah near unto the altar of Yahweh Elohim, which thou shalt make thee„. In Judges 6:25 it is written: „throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it„, but in the original Hebrew there is no „grove„, but „the idol of Asherah„. Asherah is still present in other translations of the Bible, like the Orthodox one.
– „Elohim” is used in the Old Testament about 2600 times. In Hebrew, „im” is a plural ending, „elohim” representing the plural of the noun „eloah„, which also became an epithet of the god of the Jews. Defenders of biblical monotheism, who avoid the plural form of „elohim” as much as possible, tell us that this name of Yahweh has an unknown origin, but it is still a derivative of the Semitic noun „il / el” („god”). In reality, its origin is not at all unknown, they just try to keep it that way. According to the official history of the Jews, based on the Old Testament, the Israelites lived alongside the Canaanites. In order to integrate, the Jews adopted the customs, lifestyle and even the religion of their hosts. The Old Testament is full of prophets who curse the Israelite people for abandoning their god for the Canaanite deities. El, Elyon and Baal, three of the epithets of the biblical god, are actually the names of three deities of Canaan. Here we also find the controversial „elohim”, with the Canaanites naming their deities thus. For example, in a tablet discovered in Ebla, from around 2300 BC (a millennium before the Israelites came to Canaan according to biblical history), Dagon was the head of a pantheon consisting of 200 Elohim. So for the Canaanites, a much older civilization than the Israelites, Elohim were the gods. Even though the Jews insist that „elohim” is an epithet of Yahweh, they still admit that it represents a group of deities. In the 1170s-1180s, Rabbi Mosheh ben Maimon (Latinized as Moses Maimonides) presented in the Mishneh Torah an angel classification following the Christian model. He divided the angels into ten groups, in seventh of which the Elohim can be found, called here „divine beings„. Because Maimonides was one of the most influential Jewish philosophers, his angelic classification was accepted by Judaism and became official. Therefore, even today, Elohim are in the Jewish religion an angelic class or a group of „divine beings„, just like the Canaanite gods.
– „Elah„, another epithet of the biblical god, is the Aramaic version of the Ugaritic „eloah„, its plural form „elim” being equivalent to „elohim„.
– Tzevaot or Sabaoth is a name borrowed from the god Sabazios of the Thracians and Phrygians, called Jupiter Sabazius by the Romans and matched with Dionysus of the Greeks. As the Roman writer Valerius Maximus related at the beginning of the first century AD, the first Jews who settled in Rome and the Chaldean astrologers were expelled in 139 BC by Cornelius Hispalus for spreading the „corrupted” cult of Jupiter Sabazius. Historian Plutarch also claimed the Jews worshiped Dionysus and their Sabbath day was a celebration of Sabazius.
– „Adonai„, the plural form of „adon” („Lord”), appears in Jewish scriptures as an epithet of Yahweh, and the singular „adon” as a royal title for the mortal leaders. For the Phoenicians, „adon” was a title of the god Tammuz, which the Greeks transformed into Adonis. Both „adon” and „adonai” derive from Aton, the Greek form of the Egyptian god Aten, with the Egyptian letter „t” being equivalent to the Hebrew „d„. Therefore, the divine name Adonai is simply the Hebrew translation of the Egyptian title „Aton-ai„, meaning „my Aten”.
Marduk, who became the supreme god in ancient Babylon, adopted the titles and functions of the other deities, except for those of his father, Ea (called Enki by the Sumerians). The two were considered equal, with Enki given a place of honor by Marduk’s followers. Hence, in the scriptures of the Jews, 40 (Enki’s number in Mesopotamian religions) is the most used number. For example: The Deluge lasted 40 days and 40 nights; the Israelite spies explored Canaan for 40 days; Saul, David, Solomon and Jehoash ruled for 40 years each; the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years; Moses fled Egypt at the age of 40, returned after 40 years to take his people and died after another 40; Moses spent three 40-day and 40-night time periods on Mount Sinai; Otniel was a judge for 40 years; there were 40 years of peace under Gideon; the Philistines oppressed the Israelites for 40 years; Elijah went through the wilderness for 40 days to Mount Horeb; Isaac and Esau took wives at the age of 40. The ram horns used by Jewish priests are Enki’s symbols. Besides, in the mid-20th century, the 35th Paratrooper Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces had a green-winged serpent as its emblem; the winged serpent is Lucifer or Quetzalcoatl and green is the color of the Egyptian god Osiris, these being just three of Enki’s alternative names. In Jewish folklore, Enki is also Samael, a fallen angel viewed as both good and evil.
History shows us that after the Jews left Babylon, the city began to decline. After defeating Darius III in 331 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Babylon and planned its reconstruction, but he died of a fever before he could complete the project. Over time, the magnificent city decayed, becoming a ruin. The inhabitants of Babylon often thought Marduk had abandoned them and they were right. In 538 BC Marduk left Babylon with the Jewish exiles, moving his residence to Jerusalem. Hammurabi, who turned the town of Babylon into the capital of an empire, was the sixth ruler of the Amorite dynasty. The Amorites were Semites, as were the Jews. The Assyrians often used by Marduk to punish Babylon were also of Semitic origin. We notice that the god had a fondness for the Semites, which helps us understand why he chose the Jewish people after giving up the Babylonian one. But he was not the only deity who left Babylon for Jewish territory. The second most worshiped deity in Babylon after Marduk was his sister, Ishtar. Both of them gave the names of the main characters in the Book of Esther (whose action takes place in Babylon) of the Old Testament, Esther and Mordecai. After returning from exile, as the religion of Marduk / Yahweh was for the people, much of the Jewish elite preferred Ishtar. Although the Jews have oscillated over time between several deities, it seems that they often preferred the two divine brothers. Moses / Akhenaten unsuccessfully tried to attract them to the solar cult of Aten (Enlil), but the Jews preferred Yah, the god of the Moon. In Canaan, the Jews found Baal Zephon and Asherah, none other than Marduk and Ishtar, whom they preferred to the despair of the prophets of Moses’ god. According to the official history of the Jews, Canaan was divided at one point into two kingdoms: Judah (the southern one) and Israel (the northern). Judah (or Yehuda in Hebrew) means „Thankful to Yahu / Yahweh” and Israel could be translated as „Ishtar, the ruling goddess”. Therefore, the two kingdoms were separated by religious reasons, each worshiping one of the two deities: Judah – Marduk and Israel – Ishtar. The unification of the Jews and the Israelites under a single god was made after the Babylonian exile, when the Jewish elite preferred to keep the exclusivity of the cult of Ishtar, leaving Marduk for the masses. For a few centuries, the followers of the goddess kept a low profile, until around the year 1000 AD, when they divided again the Jews: Ashkenazim (those from the Holy Roman Empire) and Sephardim (those from Iberia, northern Africa and western Asia). Since their beggining, Ashkenazi Jews have considered themselves superior to the second category, thus proving that they are only the former Jewish elite of the worshipers of Ishtar after the Babylonian return. At the end of the 19th century there was a new division of the Jews, into Zionists and Orthodox, in which we recognize the same worshipers of the divine brothers. Unlike the Orthodox, the Zionists do not believe in the divine nature of the Tanakh (the Old Testament), preferring the Talmud, which is absolutely natural, as the god of the Tanakh is Yahweh / Marduk.
Why did Ishtar and Marduk leave Babylon in favor of Jerusalem? Perhaps because of the numerical significance of the city. The holy city of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) has coordinates 31° 47′ N, 35° 13′ E. When added, they result in 66° 60′. Removing the zero, which has no value, leaves 666, the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation, one of the most important texts of Christianity, a religion centered around the same deities.