This post is one in a series. We’re describing the following chronology of weird history:
In the previous post, we explained what it means when Noah “leaves the timeline.” Now we’re going to explain another part of the timeline above, namely: what it means that Noah and his family “start to rule as kings.”
To do this, I’m going to proceed in four steps:
- First, I’m going to go outside of the Bible to reveal a shocking bit of information about Noah and his descendants.
- Second, I’m going to explain how Noah’s descendants were revered and feared because of their weirdness when it comes to their age and fruitfulness, and where that “weirdness” ends in the Bible.
- Third, I’m going to show how we can know that this “weirdness” of Noah and his descendants was associated with kingship.
- Finally, I’m going to show the strange thing that this means for our understanding of the origin of human beings on Earth, which will introduce the next post in this series.
Part 1: The Weird Details About Noah from a Weird Source
Thucydides was a Greek Athenian who fought in the Peloponnesian War between Athens (and her allies) and Sparta (and her allies). It is an important work of history in the early days of “history” as a discipline.
However, in the beginning of his work on this war between the Greeks, he describes how the Greeks came to be “the Greeks.” As a bit of background, you should note that the region of Greece was called “the Hellas” and the people of Greece were called “the Hellens.” In Herodotus’s Histories (written a few decades before), when describing Xerxes marching to Athens, he says “Xerxes was to march his army to Hellas (Ἑλλάς) with great pomp and pride,” (Histories, 7.57). Whenever you see “Greece” in an English translation, this is what is normally translated from “Ἑλλάς.” This is where we get words like “Hellenism” and “Hellenistic” and “Hellenization.” It means “Greece” and “Greek.”
For instance, it is evident that the country now called Hellas had in ancient times no settled population; on the contrary, migrations were of frequent occurrence, the several tribes readily abandoning their homes under the pressure of superior numbers. Without commerce, without freedom of communication either by land or sea, cultivating no more of their territory than the exigencies of life required, destitute of capital, never planting their land (for they could not tell when an invader might not come and take it all away, and when he did come they had no walls to stop him), thinking that the necessities of daily sustenance could be supplied at one place as well as another, they cared little for shifting their habitation, and consequently neither built large cities nor attained to any other form of greatness.
. . .
There is also another circumstance that contributes not a little to my conviction of the weakness of ancient times. Before the Trojan war there is no indication of any common action in Hellas, nor indeed of the universal prevalence of the name; on the contrary, before the time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, no such appellation existed, but the country went by the names of the different tribes, in particular of the Pelasgian. It was not till Hellen and his sons grew strong in Phthiotis, and were invited as allies into the other cities, that one by one they gradually acquired from the connection the name of Hellenes; though a long time elapsed before that name could fasten itself upon all. The best proof of this is furnished by Homer. Born long after the Trojan War, he nowhere calls all of them by that name, nor indeed any of them except the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis, who were the original Hellenes: in his poems they are called Danaans, Argives, and Achaeans. He does not even use the term barbarian, probably because the Hellenes had not yet been marked off from the rest of the world by one distinctive appellation. It appears therefore that the several Hellenic communities, comprising not only those who first acquired the name, city by city, as they came to understand each other, but also those who assumed it afterwards as the name of the whole people, were before the Trojan war prevented by their want of strength and the absence of mutual intercourse from displaying any collective action.
As you can see, Thucydides, writing in the 400s BC says that in antiquity, the Greeks were nobody. They were “without commerce” and “without freedom of communication either by land and sea.” They were essentially hunter-gatherers, until a certain point. That point is when a man named “Hellen” had sons who grew strong in Phthiotis (which is a real place, by the way). This is where it is in Greece:
After these sons of Hellen came and became strong, they eventually all called themselves “Hellens” to distinguish themselves from everyone else. That’s where the words “Hellens” and “Hellenistic” comes from.
That’s all nice, but why does this matter? Well, this is where it gets really weird. So let me just tell you:
DEUCAION IS NOAH.
How We Know the Greek “Deucalion” and and the Biblical “Noah” are the Same Person
If you don’t believe me, let’s check the sources. The first source is Ovid, who was a Roman who re-wrote ancient Greek myths in Metamorphosis. Here’s what he says about Deucalion:
Phocis, a fertile country when it was still land, separates Aonia from Oeta, though at that time it was part of the sea, a wide expanse of suddenly created water. There Mount Parnassus lifts its twin steep summits to the stars, its peaks above the clouds. When Deucalion and his wife landed here in their small boat, everywhere else being drowned by the waters, they worshipped the Corycian nymphs, the mountain gods, and the goddess of the oracles, prophetic Themis. No one was more virtuous or fonder of justice than he was, and no woman showed greater reverence for the gods [JCJ: since Themis is a female Titan goddess, and nymphs are female, this description refers to Deucalion and his wife]. (Ovid, Metamorphosis, Bk I:313-347)
So… a single dude who was the sole survivor of everyone dying in a great flood? That looks…. ….familar. Yes, it does. That’s Noah. Look it up on Wikipedia if you don’t believe me.
Additionally, here are more people who say that Decalion and Noah are the same people, including a Jewish source:
The Roman Plutarch 49 AD – 119 AD: “Now the story-books tell us that when Deucalion released a dove from the ark, as long as she returned, it was a certain sign that the storm was still raging; but as soon as she flew away, it was a harbinger of fair weather.” (Plutarch, On the Cleverness of Animals, 13.1)
Dove from the ark? Sounds like Noah to me. Here’s another one from a work by Pseudo-Apollodorus from the first or second century AD:
“And Prometheus had a son Deucalion. He reigning in the regions about Phthia, married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first woman fashioned by the gods. And when Zeus would destroy the men of the Bronze Age, Deucalion by the advice of Prometheus constructed a chest, and having stored it with provisions he embarked in it with Pyrrha. But Zeus by pouring heavy rain from heaven flooded the greater part of Greece, so that all men were destroyed, except a few who fled to the high mountains in the neighborhood. It was then that the mountains in Thessaly parted, and that all the world outside the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed.” (Pseudo-Apollodorus, 1.7.2)
Further, here’s a source from a Jewish author well-respected by Christians in the first century AD:
Now this man the Greeks call Deucalion, but the Chaldaeans name him Noah; and it was in his time that the great deluge took place. (Philo of Alexandria, On Rewards and Punishments, 4.23)
With all that evidence, it seems pretty obvious that Deucalion is the Greek name of Noah.
The Identity of “Hellen”
So who is “Hellen,” the son of Deucalion? There are only three options: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. But look at what we read about the descendants of Japheth:
The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations. (Genesis 11:2-5)
Wait… coastlands? Is there a handy-dandy super-old map that shows were all of the descendants of Shem Ham and Japheth settled that is open-source, so I can used on this site? YES THERE IS:
Do you see which son of Noah settled in the “Coastland” areas of the Black and Mediteranean Seas? That would be Japheth, better known to the Greeks as “Hellen.”
So… Thucydides is saying that the Greeks were NOBODIES until a son of Noah came and settled in the Greek mainland south of Thessaly.
Isn’t that weird? Oh… …it gets much weirder.
Part 2: The Weird Ages of the Descendants of Noah
As we pointed out in the conclusion of the last post, there’s something weird about the ages of Noah and his family. It’s something weird not only because it is weird that people (like Noah) live to be 950 years old. It’s also weird in relation to something God says before the Flood:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Genesis 6:1-3)
When God “says something” — like “let there be light” — that tends to have an IMMEDIATE effect in the Bible. However, despite saying this before the Flood, there are MULTIPLE GENERATIONS of descendants of Noah who live much longer than 120 years. The list of Genesis 11 gives some names, and includes the following:
- Noah, who lived 950 years.
- Shem, who lived 600 years.
- Arpachshad who lived 438 years.
- Shelah, who lived 433 years.
- Eber, who lived 464 years.
- Peleg, who lived 239 years.
- Reu, who lived 239 years.
- Serug, who lived 230 years.
- Nahor, who lived 148 years.
- Terah, who lived 205 years. (Terah was from Haran. This is important for later).
That is strange, indeed.
These aren’t the only people who live beyond 120 years. Let’s see the other people who lived a long time:
- Abraham, who lived to be 175 years old (Genesis 25:7).
- Sarah, Abraham’s wife who lived to be 127 (Genesis 23:1)
- We also know that Sarah was not only Abraham’s wife, but also his half-sister through his father Terah (See Genesis 20:12), and therefore a descendant of Noah.
- Strangely enough, Sarah was also “hot stuff,” so good looking that Abraham was worried that the Pharaoh would kill him to marry Sarah. (See Genesis 20:1-11)
- Ishmael, son of Abraham, lived to be 137 (See Genesis 25:17)
- Isaac, son of Abraham, lived to be 180 (See Genesis 35:28)
- Though we are not told of her death, Rebekah, wife of Isaac, likely lived past 100, because she is present when Isaac is so old that he cannot see.
- We are explicitly told that she is a descendant of Terah, Abraham’s father (See Genesis 22:20-23).
- It is also a major point in the story that Rebekah did not like that Esau married a Canaanite woman, so he marries again to a daughter of Ishmael, a descendant of Abraham (See Genesis 27:46, and Genesis 28:6-9).
- Jacob, son of Isaac, who lived to be at least 147 years. (Genesis 47:28)
And if you think that’s the end of the list, then you’re wrong.
Then we move to the time after Jacob, and into the time of the Exodus. This would be around 1800-1400 BC:
- Levi, son of Jacob, lived 137 years. (Exodus 6:16)
- Kohath, son of Levi, lived 133 years. (Exodus 6:18)
- Amram, son of Kohath (and father of Moses), 137 years (Exodus 6:20)
- Moses, son of Amram, lived 120 years (Deuteronomy 34:7)
In other words, people are living A LONG TIME at this point. Not only that, it seems the they are living past 120 years A LONG TIME AFTER God says that man will only live for 120 years.
Comparison of the Ages of the Patriarchs to Others
In addition to the weirdly long ages of the descendants of Noah, we should notice that nobody else on Earth is living this long.
Though we do not have extensive lists of the ages of kings, we can do a short sample based on a small sample of people who were well-placed to live a long time: Kings and RUlers. For example, let’s just go to the wikipedia page for Hammurabi. Supposedly, he only lived 60 years, from 1810 B.C. to 1750 B.C. A different king in Egypt, Thutmose III, who was the pharaoh at the time of the Exodus, he lived for only 56 years, from 1481 BC to 1425 BC.
The Status of Jacob, Father of Joseph
This is when we need to take note of the context of the end of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus. Look at what happens when the Pharaoh of Egypt meets Joseph’s father Jacob:
Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents. (Genesis 47:7-12)
You might not think that the phrase “Jacob blessed Pharaoh” means anything, but look at the commentary we get from the the New Testament about people “blessing” other people in the Old Testament. The specific situation it is commenting on is the event that occurs in Genesis 14:19 when Melchizedek blesses Abraham. Look what the book of Hebrews says about the status of the parties in such a transaction:
It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. (Hebrews 7:7)
Think about that in relation to Jacob and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Jacob meets the Pharaoh, and instead of the ruler of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth blessing Jacob, this guy Jacob blesses Pharaoh. In other words, I don’t know if the Pharaoh knows this, but Jacob is kind of a big deal.
Why is Jacob such a big deal? There’s an obvious reason, and it is shown in the question and answer between Jacob and Pharaoh: HIS AGE and HIS FATHERS.
These factors are such a significant factor in the prestige of Jacob, that Jacob is seen as “superior” to the Pharaoh of Egypt in a VERY REAL sense, even in the eyes of the Egyptians.
The Age of the Hebrews And Its Effects
We are told in Genesis that a grand total of 70 people come down to Egypt at the end of Genesis:
All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy. (Genesis 46:27)
However, after 400 years in Egypt, notice how many Israelites leave Egypt:
And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. (Exodus 12:37)
So in 400 years, we increase by a factor of 21,000. And not only that, there was a genocide in the middle of that (Exodus 1:8-22) But let’s think of this, too. When Joseph and his brothers came down, Joseph was around 40, and Levi was the third of 12 children. However, Kohath, the grandfather of Moses, was listed among those individuals who came down from Canaan. And we know that Moses left in the Exodus when he was 80 years old (Exodus 7:7). So think about this. How many generations are there between the Exodus and the family of Israel coming down to Egypt?
Since Kohath, son of Levi, came down with Jacob/Israel, that means there are only 3 generations between two events spaced 400 years apart. Levi is Moses’s great-grandfather. Kohath is his grandfather. Amram is his father.
How weird is this? The current year is 2021. Most people’s great-grandfathers fought in World War II or (if you’re older than average) World War I. If your family had the longevity of Moses’s family, Your great great-grandfather would have come over on the Mayflower, 4000 years ago. That’s how weird it is.
And these generations mix in the marriages, too, (for instance, notice that Moses’s father married HIS AUNT):
And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years. (Exodus 6:20)
Additionally, look who Aaron married:
And Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. (Exodus 6:23)
Who is Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon? Well, we can see who this is in the book of 1 Chronicles:
The sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. . . . The sons of Kohath: Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son, (1 Chronicles 6:16, 22)
While you may get caught up on how strange it is that people are marrying their aunt, I want to show how weird this is in another way. Think of how weird it is that it is POSSIBLE for people to marry their aunts. As is clear from the ages of Jacob’s children (and the fact that Joseph was thirty (30) years old when he fathered Benjamin, this means that Jacob was fathering children until he was about 100.
What the story of Genesis and Exodus tells us is that the Hebrews were keeping a very (but not completely) sequestered genealogical line from those around them.
What This Means For the Story of the Bible
This age and fruitfulness of the Israelites has a REALLY BIG EFFECT on the plot of the Bible. In fact, this is why the Pharaoh in Exodus, “who did not know Joseph” is REALLY WEIRDED OUT by the Israelites who lived in his country. We read this at the beginning of Exodus:
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. (Exodus 1:8-12)
You may have read that before and thought that the Egyptians were just randomly anti-Semitic and genocidal.
Well, yes, the Pharaoh was anti-Semitic and genocidal, but it was not RANDOM. The Egyptians FEARED the Israelites, because the Israelites LIVED A RIDICULOUSLY LONG TIME and they were becoming MASSIVE in their numbers. That’s why the Egyptians “were in dread” of the people of Israel.
The End of the Long Age of the Israelites
There is a place in the Bible where the ridiculously long age of the Israelites ends. It happens when the Israelites are too afraid to go into the promised land, even after seeing the mighty works of God in the Exodus from Egypt. The spies who went into the land of Canaan are in great fear of certain giants. This is what they say:
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:25-33)
But Moses, Aaron, and Caleb (no relation) try to convince the people that they can overcome these enemies in the promised land. Then we read this:
Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. (Numbers 14:10)
First off, let’s just note how ridiculous this is. There is a big disagreement among the Israelites, and right before things get started, we are told that a supernatural light shines down FROM HEAVEN at the tabernacle. In other words, God is like “I’m pissed. We need to talk.”
That’s almost worth a post all to itself. But anyway, Moses goes to talk to God, and this is what we read next:
And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? (Numbers 14:11)
So after Moses convinces God not to kill everyone right then and there (keep in mind, this is literally the second time that Moses has had to intercede in this way, see Exodus 32), this is what God decides:
And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the Lord, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.” (Numbers 14:26-35)
And that is THE END of the ridiculously long life of the Israelites. No one lives longer than normal after this. This is actually a very big deal. In fact, there is a particular Psalm in the book of Psalms that reflects on this moment:
A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!” [Footnote: or “Adam”]
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
Don’t miss the history lesson of this Psalm:
- It begins with creation in the first stanza: “Before the mountains were brought forth.”
- It moves the the 1,000 year lives of Adam and his descendants: “O children of man/Adam” and “a thousand years in your sight…”
- It then moves to the flood: “You sweep them away as with a flood;”
- Then it compares this to the Israelites at the time of their wandering: “For we are brought to an end by your anger.”
- It then remarks on their shorter lives: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty.”
- It then asks for help from the Lord: “Teach us to number our days” (which sounds a lot like Numbers 14’s “according to the number of the days….”)
Why is it such a sad thing that people live only to 70 or 80?
BECAUSE THE ISREALITES USED TO LIVE TO THEIR 130S
Now, the span of their lives is just like the lives of everyone else. They are no longer anything special because they did not listen or trust the Lord when he told them to go drive out the wicked people of the promised land. Remember that Moses lived to be 120 and:
“His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated” (Deuteronomy 34:7)
That was normal is what is happening in this period.
Part 3: A Weirdness That Involves Kingship
So why did the Israelites live so long? And for that matter, why did people who were not Israelites (such as Ishmael) also live so long? Note the connecting thread of all of these individuals who lived a very, VERY long time:
THEY WERE ALL DESCENDANTS OF NOAH
As I argued in the first piece, Noah and his family were a time-hopping connection to the days of Adam, where EVERYONE seems to have lived a very, VERY long time. As we read in Genesis 6, this stopped by God’s command:
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Genesis 6:3)
The people made after this time lived “normal” lives (to us). However, the genealogy of Noah preserved the long-life of the ancient peoples — slowly dissipating, but never really going away — until the time of Moses. I am proposing that this happened because Noah was a genealogical and genetic bridge to a much more distant time.
The Adam-Noah Kingship Connection
As I stated earlier, Thucydides noted that Helen, the sons of Noah came to Phthisis and “became strong.” In other words, he became a king. We can also note that Gilgamesh was “a king” in Mesopotamia. Just look at his wikipedia page, if you don’t believe me.
But notice what Gilgamesh says about Utnapishtim/Noah when he reveals that he is trying to go visit him:
I have come on account of my ancestor Utnapishtim
who joined the Assembly of the Gods, and was given eternal life.
About Death and Life I must ask him
(The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet IX)
That’s another king who was related to Noah. According to the Sumerian King List, Gilgamesh reigned in Uruk for 126 years, and his father reigned in Uruk 100 years before him. Those sound like ridiculously long lives to me. So here’s the thesis:
The Sons of Noah became kings based on the superiority of their lineage, which both came “from heaven” (see the previous post) and “from Eden” (via their ancestors).
Adam was to rule on earth. He was the first “patriarch.” It was Adam who was told this:
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
That is the mandate of kingship from Heaven itself, and it matches what we know about kingship from places like Uruk and Ur. Kingship comes “from heaven,” but it was initially passed down through Adam. At the time of Noah, Noah is the last descendant of Adam. Therefore Noah’s descendants have a leg-up on this authority of kingship, because they are “closer” to the original king of Adam.
You can see that idea in the account of Thucydides, where the descendants of Noah rule and become strong in Greece over “nobodies” who lived there before.
The Kingship of Adam From a Strange Source
But if these sources are a little bit too “old” to convince you of this idea, I’ll give you a different source. The source is a well-known writer with a nose that twice as large than it should be. His named John Locke:
John Locke is famously against the idea of “kingship,” and his second treatise on government is an important work on social contract theory. However, John Locke argues AGAINST the idea of Kingship by giving the following argument in his Second Treatise on Government, written in 1680 A.D.:
AN ESSAY CONCERNING THE TRUE ORIGINAL, EXTENT AND END OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,
(1). That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominion over the world, as is pretended:
(2). That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:
(3). That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positive law of God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may arise, the right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could not have been certainly determined:
(4). That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which is the eldest line of Adam’s posterity, being so long since utterly lost, that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not to one above another, the least pretence to be the eldest house, and to have the right of inheritance:
All these premises having, as I think, been clearly made out, it is impossible that the rulers now on earth should make any benefit, or derive any the least shadow of authority from that, which is held to be the fountain of all power, Adam’s private dominion and paternal jurisdiction; so that he that will not give just occasion to think that all government in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts, where the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder and mischief, tumult, sedition and rebellion, (things that the followers of that hypothesis so loudly cry out against) must of necessity find out another rise of government, another original of political power, and another way of designing and knowing the persons that have it, than what Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us.
Sect. 2. To this purpose, I think it may not be amiss, to set down what I take to be political power; that the power of a MAGISTRATE over a subject may be distinguished from that of a FATHER over his children, a MASTER over his servant, a HUSBAND over his wife, and a LORD over his slave. All which distinct powers happening sometimes together in the same man, if he be considered under these different relations, it may help us to distinguish these powers one from wealth, a father of a family, and a captain of a galley.
Sect. 3. POLITICAL POWER, then, I take to be a RIGHT of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good. (Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 1, Section 1-3)
John Locke is addressing an argument FOR kings that he doesn’t like. So he makes his argument AGAINST kings in 1680. But this gives us a window into what the idea FOR kings was. We can reconstruct reconstruct that argument by turning his negative statements into positive statements:
- Adam had, either by natural right of by right of fatherhood, or by positive donation from God an authority over his children or dominion over the world.
- He had heirs, and those heirs received a right of that authority.
- The right of succession, and consequently of rule, was determined by either law of nature or by positive law of God.
- The knowledge of which is the eldest line of Adam’s posterity is important in knowing who has that right of inheritance.
Wait…. nobody today thinks that this argument has any bearing. John Locke is one of the most important political philosophers of our current era, laying the foundation for the rule of government that we have in America and among the entire world. So why would he be making an argument about Adam and kings in 1680, unless…. Wait a minute… This means…..
AS LATE AS 1680, CERTAIN PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS DERIVED FROM ADAM’S LINEAGE
Now, John Locke has a VERY GOOD ARGUMENT about how you cannot know who has the “right to rule” from Adam. That is a VERY good argument IN 1,680 A.D.
But is it an equally good argument in 2,300 B.C.? Is it a good argument if a gigantic ark gets magically placed in the Mountains of Ararat, and a 600 to 950 year old man comes out of that ark, with 600 year old children, who have children who live RIDICULOUSLY LONG TIMES?
Nope. Not at all. Kingship and authority derived from Adam.
The Authority of Bible Characters Recognized by Others
We can see from Genesis that Noah that he is 10th generation from Adam. This means that “Hellen” of the Greeks (who is Japheth) would have been the 11th generation from Adam. This means that the argument that was STILL HANGING AROUND three to four thousand years later in 1680 A.D. was RIDICULOUSLY PERSUASIVE when I am proposing that Noah returned from “Heaven” or “the Assembly of the Gods” or wherever.
That is why Noah’s descendants ruled as kings. They had a GREATER THAN NORMAL CONNECTION back to Adam himself. That is also why the Israelites lived so long. That is why Jacob was seen as superior to Pharaoh. In addition, this is why even the Canaanites (who did not worship the God of Abraham) will say things like the following to Abraham:
Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham, “Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.” Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.” (Genesis 23:1-9)
“Prince of God”? What? Where did that come from? After Abraham asks for some property from these pagan Hittites (who do not worship the God of Abraham), and they first call Abraham “my Lord,” (And that is not just politeness. That MEANS something).
Not only that, but look at the other part of John Locke’s argument. We see that there is something about the inheritance of this authority. Well guess what? The Bible has LOADS to say on this matter. As I wrote before in this blog post, you need to notice the importance of the word “beget,” which is a word that is so obscure in our modern language, that it gets muddled into the English word “fathered.” This is a mistake. That’s because “begetting” is a statement of INHERITANCE.
For example, you will never see that “Adam begot Cain” or “Adam begot Abel” in the Bible, even though Adam did father them. However, what do we read in Genesis 5? I’m going to the ASV to preserve the word “beget,” but take a look:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam . . . begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth . . . and he begat sons and daughters. . . . And Seth . . . begat Enosh: . . . and begat sons and daughters: . . . And Enosh . . .begat Kenan . . . and begat sons and daughters: . . . And Kenan . . . begat Mahalalel . . . and begat sons and daughters . . . And Mahalalel . . . begat Jared . . . and begat sons and daughters . . . And Jared . . . begat Enoch . . . and begat sons and daughters . . . And Enoch . . . begat Methuselah . . . and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: . . . And Methuselah . . . begat Lamech . . . and begat sons and daughters . . . And Lamech . . . begat a son: and he called his name Noah . . . and begat sons and daughters . . . And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:1-32)
That’s not merely a genealogy (although it is a partial one). Notice how many people are left out of this list. Adam was the first king, then came Seth, then came the others down to Noah.
To prove this, look at what we read about a DIFFERENT son of Adam, named Cain:
And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah. (Genesis 4:1)
Notice that NEVER will you see it said in the Bible that “Adam beget Cain.” Why? Because Adam did not pass any kingly authority to Cain. This shows up later in the genealogy of Cain, as well:
And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael; and Mehujael begat Methushael; and Methushael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. (Genesis 4:16-19)
Notice that Cain doesn’t “beget” anyone. Neither does Enoch, son of Cain. Instead, Cain “built” a city, and only later is Cain’s grandson, Irad, able to “beget” anyone after Cain, because only then was he ruling any sort of territory. So, notice what you’re reading when you’re reading Genesis 4 and 5. It’s not a genealogy, even though it is a partial one. Instead:
THIS IS AN ANTEDILUVIAN KING’S LIST
One is a king’s list coming from Cain in Genesis 4. The second is a king’s list coming from Adam, in Genesis 5.
Whether its from the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Thucydides, or John Locke, we have LOTS of evidence that the descendants of Noah were individuals with ROYAL AUTHORITY on Earth.
Part 4: What does the Kingship of Noah’s and His Descendants Imply?
There’s something that we should notice whenever we say that Noah and his descendants were kings. Kings… OF WHAT?
The Weird answer I want to give you is “Kings of people who were here already when Noah came back from heaven.”
This might not seem crazy to the non-Christians in the readers, but for evangelical Christians (like me) who believe in a world-wide flood that killed LITERALLY EVERYONE, then yes, this is really weird. Therefore, everyone should understand how crazy it is that I’m arguing that people were here on Earth when Noah got back to Earth.
It’s going to get even weirder when I argue this — not from Thucydides, but from some very, VERY weird verses.
People From Eden and “Everyone Else”
When Sennacherib is coming to lay seige to Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah, he sends a messenger to give some smack-talk to king Hezekiah. Notice what he say about who he has defeated in the past:
So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’” (1 Kings 19:10-13)
Wait…. ….people of Eden? Why doesn’t he just say “people,” aren’t ALL people from Eden?
Nope. in fact, look at the list of people before that phrase “people of Eden,” which includes Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph. Haran is a city the place where Abraham’s father lived (Genesis 11:32). Haran is also the name of Abraham’s grandfather. And we know that Abraham is a descendant of Noah, and therefore has a big claim to “Eden” for his ruling authority.
Gozan is, based on its appearance in 1 Kings 17:6, is on a tributary of the Euphrates River, in the north, close to where Noah landed in modern-day Armenia. So, we can assume that these same “people of Eden” (from the Ark) lived there, too. Telassar and Rezeph do not get mentioned again in the Bible, but we can assume that they are other places, near where Noah’s descendants spread out and became kings.
But that’s not all. While that is a word from a pagan king who is talking smack to Israel, we also have some evidence from a much more reliable source. Look at what we read in the book of Amos:
Thus saith Jehovah: For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron. But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad. And I will break the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the valley of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden; and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith Jehovah. (Amos 1:1-5)
The word “scepter” is the thing a king holds, and it is a symbol of his kingly authority. A “house” is basically a family. So God (or”Jehovah” which is the way that the ASV renders “YHWY”) is saying that the kingly scepter will be taken from the family of…. …..wait…. EDEN???
But if God refers to “the house of Eden,” then that means there are people who are NOT of the house of Eden in the world….
But wait, wait, wait…. if you read it in the ESV, it says something different. It says:
I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
says the Lord. (Amos 1:3-5)
But there’s a problem with that. That’s the fact that “Beth” is just the Hebrew word for “House.” This literally says the same thing. So here’s the real question: If you take away the scepter from the “family of Eden,” then WHO ELSE IS AVAILABLE TO GET THE SCEPTER? Isn’t everyone from Eden? The WEIRD answer I’m going to put forward to you FROM THE BIBLE is an answer of “No.”
And guys…. ….guess who we know lived in “Damascus” where “the house of Eden” was supposedly going to be dispossessed? Look what Abraham himself says before his son Isaac is born:
But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2)
That’s right. Descendants of Noah are living (and ruling) in Damascus, which in the days of Amos is a descendant of that earlier king and “him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden.”
So, in this post, we’ve explored how Noah and his descendants were REAL (see Thucydides) and that they lived ridiculously long times (see the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh). We saw that they were also endowed with certain authority (see the Bible) that was acknowledged by non-Israelites and pagans (see the Bible and Thucydides). We see they ruled as kings based on their lineage from Adam (see Epic of Gilgamesh and Thucydides and the Bible and John Locke).
And when the question arises “who did they rule”? The answer is — strangely — people who WERE NOT descendants of Noah, and who were not “from Eden” (see the Bible).
So now, we need to figure out who these people are, and where they came from. That’s up next.