You are your mother’s daughter (Ezek 16:44-16:45)

“See!

Everyone

Who uses proverbs

Will use this proverb

About you.

‘Like mother,

Like daughter.’

You are the daughter

Of your mother.

She loathed

Her husband.

She loathed

Her children.

You are the sister

Of your sisters.

They loathed

Their husbands,

They loathed

Their children.

Your mother was

A Hittite.

Your father was

An Amorite.”

Everyone who used proverbs would say of Jerusalem that she was ‘like mother, like daughter.’ It was and still is common to say that a daughter was like her mother. Thus Jerusalem was like her mother who disliked her husband and her children. On top of that, she was like her sisters, who also despised their husbands and their children. After all, her mother was a Hittite, while her father was an Amorite, both distinct Canaanites tribes, not Israelites.

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The symbolic history of Jerusalem (Ezek 16:1-16:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Make known

To Jerusalem

Her abominations!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God

To Jerusalem.

Your origin,

Your birth

Were in the land

Of the Canaanites.

Your father was

An Amorite.

Your mother was

A Hittite.’”

Once again, Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, it was about the origins and symbolic history of Jerusalem. The context was a berating of Jerusalem and her abominations. Unlike most stories of Israel that talk about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the Egyptian experience under Moses, this history of Jerusalem starts with the Canaanites. This has led many to believe that there may be some validity to this history. Of course, this is specifically aimed at the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They were Canaanites whose mother was a Hittite with their father an Amorite. The Amorites were an ancient Syrian tribe with a Semitic language that also lived in Canaan from about 1700 BCE. From a biblical perspective based on Genesis, chapter 10, they were the descendants of Canaan and Ham. Amorite and Canaanite were interchangeable. They were definitely there before the Moses-Joshua experience. The Hittites were another Canaanite group that seemed to be friendly in many of the Genesis stories.

The promise of a divine alliance (Gen 15:1-15:21)

“After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield.  Your reward shall be very great.’  But Abram said, ‘O Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’  And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, so that a slave born in my house will be my heir.’ But the word of Yahweh came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir.  No one but your very own issue shall be your heir.’  He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’  And he believed Yahweh.  And Yahweh reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

This is the calling of Abram in the Yahweh tradition. Yahweh appeared in a vision to Abram and said to him not to be afraid because Yahweh would be his shield.  Abram said that he was sterile and the inheritor of his estate was to be his household slave, Eliezer of Damascus.  Yahweh said that Abram would have his own heir and that his descendants would be like the stars in the heaven. Abram believed and Yahweh reckoned him as righteous.

“Then he said to him, ‘I am Yahweh who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.’  But he said, “O Lord Yahweh how am I to know that I shall possess it?’  He said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’  He brought him all these, cut them in two, laying each half over against the other.  But he did not cut the birds in two. When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.”

Yahweh said that he had brought Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans to have this new land. So Yahweh asked for a sacrifice: a heifer, a female goat, and a ram, all each three years old, with a turtledove and a young pigeon.  This is much like the Mosaic Law which came later. Abram cut the big animals in two but left the birds alone.  He then chased off the birds of prey when they came for the animal carcasses.

 “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and a deep and terrifying darkness fell upon him.  Then Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Know this for certain that your offspring will be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years.  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.  As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace.  You shall be buried in a good old age.  They shall come back here in the fourth generation.  For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’”

Abram fell asleep and darkness descended upon him. Yahweh said to Abram that your offspring will be aliens and slaves in a land that is not theirs for 400 years.  This is a prediction after the fact.  However, they shall come out of there and return here with great possessions.  Abram, like many others, was to die in a good old age.  The Amorites were in for some trouble.

“When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.  On that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

There was a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch that passed by.  Then the Yahweh covenant with Abram took place.  Yahweh gave him the land from the Nile to the Euphrates for him and his descendents.  The enemies list is very clear.  The land owning enemies are the Kenites, a nomad tribe; the Kenizzites, a group that integrates with the Canaanites; the Kadmonites, a group only mentioned here; the Hittites, the descendents of Heth; the Perizzites, like the Canaanites; the Rephaim, the tall ones; the Amorites; the Canaanites; the Girgashites; and the Jebusites.  Wow, this is a lot of land and a lot of people who are going to be disappointed when they find out that Abram’s descendants are claiming their land.

The battle of the four great kings (Gen 14:1-14:16)

“In the days of King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim, these kings made war with King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar.  And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim, that is, the Dead Sea area.  Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.  In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and subdued the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim,  and the Horites in the hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness.  Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat, that is, Kadesh, and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.  Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar, went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five.  Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits.  As the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way.  They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

Who are these guys?  It is four kings against five. Apparently Chedorlaomer of Elam, perhaps a place in Persia, was the chief ruler for twelve years, when a rebellion occurred. He got his three friendly kings, Amraphel of Shinar, which may have been in Babylonia, Arioch of Ellasar, and Tidal of Goiim, and defeated the Rephaim, who were the tall warrior people, at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim, some kind of stout warriors, at Ham, the Emim, tall warriors, at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites, the cave dwellers of Seir. Then they turned back and subdued the Amalekites, the tent dwellers, and the Amorites, the hill people. This was an invasion from the east on the plains around the Jordan River.  Most of those defeated were considered to be large tall warriors.

The four kings then had a war with five other kings, King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is Zoar, that took place in Siddim by the Dead Sea.  This is the only mention of these five kings, who were the local leaders around this Dead Sea area.  The four kings won the battle as the defeated ones fell into the bitumen tar pits or fled.  The victors took the possessions of Lot and the land around Sodom and Gomorrah.

 “Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and  Aner.  These were allies of Abram.  When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.  He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus.  Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.”

Somehow, Abram gets involved in some fighting, which seems to be out of character for him.   Here is first time that Abram is called a Hebrew.  One of the Amorites, who was an ally of Abram, went to Abram to tell him what had happened. Both Eschol and Aner had places named after them.  So Abram got 318 trained men who were born in his house, probably slaves, and went after them as far as Dan, but Dan did not exist until after the conquest of Canaan.  He then pursued them and routed them at Hobah, north of Damascus.  That was a long way to go.  He brought back his nephew Lot, all his people and all his goods.  Abram had a large household and was quite a fighter to defeat the four kings. Anyway, this is the strange story of Abram the warrior.