Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ham, Mizraim and the origin of Egypt

I want to make a quick post about what I think on the very beginning of Egypt's history.

First I want to explain that that the Tale of Nations (Genesis 10) is not necessarily listing all of Noah's grandchildren and even less so all the great grandchildren.  It's listing the founders of the earliest nations.  So I don't think Ham stopped reproducing at only 4 or 5 male children and a daughter to marry each.  And I certainly don't think all Egyptians need to go back to one of the 7 offspring listed of Mizraim, in fact strictly speaking I think none of them do, those are tribes that broke off from Mizraim's main nation and helped Phut populate the rest of North Africa.  Josephus says these off shoot nations were wiped out during a mysterious ancient Ethiopic War which was ended by Moses.  Whether or not there is any truth to that, the Philistines descend from an intermingling of two of them, they're NOT the prst of the Ramses III inscriptions and have nothing to do with Crete or the Agean, they were in Caanan already in the days of Abraham.

The Bible refers to Egypt as "the land of Ham" in Psalms 78:51; 105:23,27; 106:22; 1Ch 4:40.  The Egyptian word Kmt or Kem is another word the Egyptians used for themselves, and it looks like it could be related to the name of Ham, which in the Hebrew is Cham or Kham or Khem.  Claims that the Egyptians worshiped a Horned god named something like Khum of Chum have actually not stood up under scrutiny.  Based on the above observation however, I shall conjecture that Egypt is the land were Ham himself settled after the dispersion.

The name of Mizraim ends in the dual suffix -āyim, perhaps referring to the "two Egypts", and has also been interpreted to mean "the two straits".  I've seen it suggested that Mizraim is really a term that implies a set of Twins.

Egypt was a dual kingdom, Upper Egypt (the south) and Lower Egypt (the North).  The myth of brothers Osiris and Seth/Set in Egyptian mythology was not simply a matter of Osiris is Good and Set is evil, Many traditions about Set also affiliate him with being a Hero who defeats Apep (not to be confused with the name of Apepi the latter Hycsos king, however similar they seem to us their distinct in how their written in Egyptian) a chaotic deity.  And before the Second Intermediate period it wasn't uncommon for there to be sects of the Egyptian religion that favored Set over Osiris.  The vilification of Set seems to have happened largely in response to the Hycsos occupation as they favored worshiping Set.   The key distinction here is that Set had his seat in Lower Egypt and Osiris in Upper Egypt. 

I think it's possible Osiris and Set were the Mizraim twins, and that Isis and Nephthys were daughters of Ham they married.  Ham divided Egypt between them before he died, but they inevitably fought a war with each other.

Horus was the son of Osiris and his successor who defeated Set.  That is well known but what isn't as well known is that the Turin Papyrus lists a second Horus reigning at the end of the dynasty of the gods, between the two are Thoth and Maat.  Even less well known is that Horus's wife Hathor is depicted in the Dendera Temple as bearing him a son named Ihy who is also called Hor-seme-tawy.

The earliest known ruler of Pre-Dynastic Egypt that archeology has uncovered is Iry-Hor in Upper Egypt.
I think he is Ihy/Horus the Younger.

Another theory I'd considered in the past was started with the fact that Bill Cooper in Chapter 6 of After The Flood, argues that the name Seth in place of Sceaf in some genealogies could justifiably come from Japheth.  I instantly thought of the Egyptian Seth/Set but didn't make much of it till I read on the Wkipedia page for Red Hair that that the Egyptian considered Red Hair a sign of Descent from Set, and Red Hair is today at least most common among certain Japhethite people like the Irish and some Scandinavians (Thor was usually depicted with Red Hair unlike Marvel Comics and the MCU).

Adding to that that Seth and Osiris like Iapetos in Greek mythology are made the direct offspring of Heaven and Earth (but Egypt switched the genders).  I thought about identifying Osiris with Ham and Japheth with Set.

But I now know better then to simplistically think such ethnic features tell us for certain who someone descends from.   The Bible arguably identifies Red Hair with Esau/Edom and David, showing it's not limited to Japheth.  Maybe Set was a twin born with Red Hair like Esau was?

And I'm uncomfortable with any theory that vilifies Ham due to their ties to Racism.  Canaan and Canaan alone sinned in Genesis 9.

It's possible I think that Satan inspired Egyptian mythology to give the name Seth to fratricide not originally named Seth in order to plant a seed for perverting Genesis 4 to say it was Seth who killed his Brother.

Additional note.  You can read my view on The Great Pyramid here.

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