Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sarai , the Elizabeth Taylor of 4,000 years ago and Abram, Father of Three Religions And Documenting Evidence

Nadene Goldfoot                                           
Sarai was the niece of Abram and his wife.  They lived 4,000 years ago where tents were homes.  She was beautiful.  He and Sarai  went down into Egypt from Canaan, for the famine was grave in the land of Canaan.  Canaan was a land of idol worshippers who held human sacrifices and engaged in deviant sex, practices seen as a threat to an emerging monotheism that Abram would soon proclaim.  This is documented in the Bible.
Hieroglyphs from the Great Hypostyle Hall in Karnak (Seti I, 13th century BC)
In that day and age, Egypt's only writing was in hieroglyphics.  Abram was born in about 1948 BCE which is called the 2nd millennium BCE.  Most scholars understand that this was the time of the Hyksos.  This is an Egyptian word meaning "foreign rulers".  Some scholars think he came at an even earlier time.  

The chairman of the Institute of Egyptology at the University of Vienna is Manfred Bietak.  He was leading an excavation of a site in Egypt.  When asked about what the Egyptian historical sources,  said about Abraham,   which was the name the Bible says Abram took later in life, that has more meaning to it,  confessed that they said nothing at all.  "It's as if Abraham never set foot in the delta."  

Abraham would have come with sheep and a wife.  This was probably not unusual that they were not the only wanderers entering Egypt's land.  It went unrecorded.  

However, Abram came to today's Iraq from the East, probably the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and came in a  family group  led by his father, Terah, called the Ivreem (Hebrews). The city was Ur.   Terah was an idol maker.                       

24 years later, Abram and Sarai leave for Canaan from Ur.  This is when their names change.  What writing style could have recorded any history?  

Later, when they leave because of famine and as they got close to the Egyptian border, Abraham told Sarai, "You are a beautiful woman.  When the Egyptians see you, they will kill me to get you if they know you are my wife.  So please say that you are my sister instead.  Then I will survive this.  "  She was taken to the Pharaoh, and though she wasn't 15 years old aymore, they still thought she was indeed beautiful and included her in his harem.  
              It's one thing to write, but another to understand what we read.
       Our 2 religions interpret this event quite differently. 

Roman Catholics
In the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, says that Abraham's deception calls into question his faith that G-d would protect him and fulfill the promise that (TO YOUR SEED I WILL GIVE THIS LAND.)  This implies that he had lost his faith.  

JPS Torah Commentary, says that the point is that Abraham would have erred if he had expected G-d to work a miracle to get him out of this fix.  As it turned out, G-d did intervene. 
Torah, the Stone Edition, Genesis 12:6-10   
from Rambam: a fundamental principle in understanding the Torah's narrative concerning the Patriarchs is that whatever happened to the Patriarchs is a portent for the children, meaning that the events of their lives symbolized the future.  Thus, Abraham's trip to Egypt in the face of a famine portended the exile of Jacob and his family. 
 Midrash: This was another test of Abraham's faith when he had settled into Canaan and G-d commanded him to leave for the land of Egypt.  He went through many tests.  
My comment: is that this is an example of G-d expecting us to use our own brains in solving our problems with the knowledge that G-d will help to lead us to the right conclusions.  We were told that man was made in G-d's image. That meant we were above animals in reasoning and should think.   Abram knew they would die if they stayed in Canaan during a famine and had to go to Egypt to exist.  He also knew he would be killed in order for the Egyptians to steal Sarai away from him.  He prayed for the outcome that would keep both of them safe.  It worked. 

Writings have been found in excavations in Ur and elsewhere on clay tablets.  This is the land known as Mesopotamia, and writing was created by scratching into wet clay with a tool.  

Image result for history of writing in MEsopotamia
The earliest writing was based on pictograms. ... Over time, the need for writing changed and the signs developed into a script we call cuneiform. Over thousands of years, Mesopotamian scribes recorded daily events, trade, astronomy, and literature on clay tablets

 Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE. The Gilgamesh of Mesopotamia was written in cuneiform. 


Image result for hebrew writing, history
According to contemporary scholars, the original Hebrew script developed alongside others in the region (the region is the Land of Cannan and Arabia) during the course of the late second and first millennia BCE; it is closely related to the Phoenician script, which itself probably gave rise to the use of alphabetic ... 
As we have learned from African tribes, history was handed down orally and memorized over and over.  Now we have these clay tablets which also record events.  By the time that Moses came along in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt.s 400 years of slavery enduring building for them, the year was already about 1,311 BCE.  
Moses speaking to the 600,000 Israelites and other
slaves that came with them out of Egyptian slavery.
He was 80 when he started a trek that would take
him 40 years to reach Canaan.  
Moses, a prince of Egypt, knew how to write as he was among the elite that were educated.  He also knew about recording facts, so started recording what he knew to be a fantastic accomplishment:  obeying G-ds wisdom and orders to free the Israelites and take them back to Canaan to create their own land and to keep his way of living.  
He started from the beginning of their history that he had been handed down, probably by Aaron, his lost but found brother.  He wrote every day.   What he wrote were the first 5 books of the Bible, known as the Five Books of Moses. 

Edited: 3/3/18; 9:22am. 
Parshas Lech Lecha


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Your column is always very interesting. Thanks.

  3. Hi,
    Please read the blog's of Ajit Vadakayil

    1. He sounds pretty angry. Who are the threesome he speaks of?