114) The First Rival To Melchizedek

Shem’s son Arphaxad was born just two years after the flood. Imagine what it would be like to be one of only eight adults colonizing a strange new world. The birth of a son would be cause for great rejoicing. Maybe they spoiled him too much. Shem’s joy and hopes for this child turned to heartbreak as his son grew up to be a psychopathic mass murderer.

To recognize Arphaxad’s significance in the historical records, we must apply the knowledge that names were given at any stage of a person’s life to memorialize that individual’s accomplishments.

“there were twins in her womb. the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name EsauAnd after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob.” (Genesis 25:24-26)

The name Arphachshad is probably a combination…meaning extent, border; and כשד, Chesed, the Hebrew word for Chaldeans

Josephus…also concluded Boundary Of The Chaldeans.

This is easily recognized as memorializing this individual for expanding the borders of his domain, a major preoccupation in any pioneer era. Arphaxad extended his boundary throughout the entire fertile plain from the foothills to the ocean.

Akkad was the northern (or northwestern) division of ancient Babylonia...beyond the line of the modern cities of Al-Fallūjah and Baghdad. The early inhabitants of this region were predominantly Semitic, and their speech is called Akkadian. To the south of the region of Akkad lay Sumer…inhabited by a non-Semitic people known as Sumerians.

“Babylonia” is used to describe the south of modern Iraq…the “land of Sumer and Akkad”, a term attested from the third millennium BC onwards…”

Semitic Sargon the Great reigned during Arphaxad’s long lifetime from the city he had founded and named Akkad about 2300 BCE. We can confidently identify the biblical Arphaxad as the historical Sargon.

sargon-of-akkad-2

Sargon of Akkad (r. 2334 – 2279 BCE)…the king of the Akkadian Empire…the first multi-national empire in history…

“for at least 1,500 years after his death, Sargon the Great, founder of the Akkadian Empire, was regarded as a semi-sacred figure, the patron saint of all subsequent empires in the Mesopotamian realm”. Even so, where he came from and even his actual name are unknown.`Sargon’ was not the name given him at birth but the throne name he chose for himself. It is a Semitic, not Sumerian, name and so it is generally accepted that he was a Semite.

It means “True King”, clearly in defiance of the LORD God’s King of Righteousness. “And Noah…said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem.” {Genesis 9:24-26) If it seems backwards to modern Christians to bless God instead of asking for God to bless you, that is because the relationship between Christians and God has gone backward. In the olden days it was understood that humans owed a debt to their God or gods that needed to be honored and repaid with tithes, offerings, obedience and worship. Exactly what Sargon demanded as the representative of his god.

The Sumerian king list states that Kish was the first city to have kings following the deluge,[9] beginning with Ĝushur. Ĝushur’s successor is called Kullassina-bel, but this is actually a sentence in Akkadian meaning “All of them were lord”. Thus, some scholars have suggested that this may have been intended to signify the absence of a central authority in Kish for a time. The names of the next nine kings of Kish preceding Etana are Nanĝišlišma, En-tarah-ana, Babum, Puannum, Kalibum, Kalumum, Zuqaqip, Aba, Mašda, and Arwium. These names are all Akkadian words for animals, e.g. Zuqaqip “scorpion”. The East Semitic nature of these and other early names associated with Kish reveals that its population had a strong Semitic (Akkadian speaking) component from Early Dynastic I period on. Archaeological finds from the Uruk period indicate that the site was part of the Uruk Expansion and hence originally Sumerian and Sumerian language speaking.[10][11] Ignace Gelb identified Kish as the center of the earliest East Semitic culture which he calls the Kish civilization,[12] however the concept was discarded by more recent scholarship in 2021.[13] After a massive flood devastated Mesopotamia, the kingship was given to Kish, with Etana as king.[14] Ancient Sumerian sources describe Etana as ‘the shepherd who ascended to Heaven and made firm all the lands’.[14] This implies that the historical Etana stabilized the kingdom by bringing peace and order to the area after the Flood.[14] Etana is also sometimes credited with the founding of Kish.

The twenty-first king of Kish on the list, Enmebaragesi, who is said to have captured the weapons of Elam, is the first name confirmed by archaeological finds from his reign.[4] He is also known through other literary references, in which he and his son Aga of Kish are portrayed as contemporary rivals of Dumuzid, the Fisherman, and Gilgamesh, early rulers of Uruk.

Some early kings of Kish are known through archaeology, but are not named on the King list. These include Utug or Uhub, said to have defeated Hamazi in the earliest days, and Mesilim, who built temples in Adab and Lagash, where he seems to have exercised some control.[4]

Mesannepada, Lugal Kish-ki (𒈩𒀭𒉌𒅆𒊒𒁕 𒈗 𒆧𒆠), “Mesannepada, King of Kish”, on a seal impression found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur.[15][16] The last column of characters, is thought to mean “his wife…” (𒁮𒉡𒍼, dam-nu-gig).[15]

After its early supremacy, Kish declined economically and militarily, but retained a strong political and symbolic significance.[17] Its influence reached as far west as the city of Ebla near the Mediterranean Sea, as shown by the Ebla tablets.[18][19] Just as with Nippur to the south, control of Kish was a prime element in legitimizing dominance over the north of Mesopotamia. Because of the city’s symbolic value, strong rulers later claimed the traditional title “King of Kish“, even if they were from Akkad, Ur, Assyria, Isin, Larsa or Babylon.[20]One of the earliest to adopt this title upon subjecting Kish to his empire was King Mesannepada of Ur.[21]

Sargon of Akkad, the founder of the Akkadian Empire, came from the area near Kish, called Azupiranu according to a much later Neo-Assyrian text purporting to be an autobiography of Sargon.[22]

The line in the Legend of Sargon that states “my father I knew not” does not mean he couldn’t identify his father. He must have in order to identify his uncles, “the brother(s) of my father” who he states “loved the hills”, which is a sneer to their defensive posture. This is the same wording Jesus uses when he rejects false followers by announcing “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23) Sargon is stating that he rejected being identified with his father and way of life ordered by his LORD God.

The legend identifies “Akki” as “the man who raised him”. The similarities between Akki and Akkad and -axad are plain to see. Arphaxad considered himself to be a “self made man.”

Kings prefer to claim legitimacy through a dynasty, but Arphaxad rejected his genealogical dynasty. And so the legend reports that Sargon began his rise to power as a cupbearer / most trusted associate to the king of Kish, “the seat of the first postdiluvian dynasty.

As Shem’s son, Arphaxad’s upbringing gave him not only first-hand training in administration and military strategy, but also rare access to the ancient world heritage documents of wisdom and arcane knowledge. He was certainly a good choice for any king’s Prime Minister, but also the worst choice. Sargon used his position to overthrow the king and begin his sweep through Mesopotamia.

Historians concur with the biblical account of the dawn of post-flood history.

The rise of cities began in this period, most notably in the region of Sumer in which thrived the cities of Eridu, Uruk, Ur, Kish, Nuzi, Lagash, Nippur, and Ngi and Ngirsu, and in Elam with its city of Susa… “Mesopotamia was the most densely urbanized region in the ancient world.  

The reason for fortified cities filling the newly settled land was to protect the people from the violence of those who were following the way of Cain. We should not be surprised to find the same blood spatter pattern in the first post-flood generation as we saw in the first pre-flood generation with Cain and Abel.

Sargon is famous for founding the first historic empire at the dawn of known civilization. In the 24th to 23rd centuries BC he conquered the fledgling Sumerian city-states, ruling from the city of Akkad. Among the most important sources of information about Sargon’s reign is a tablet of the Old Babylonian period recovered at Nippur…The tablet is a copy of the inscriptions on the pedestal of a statue erected by Sargon in the temple of Enlil…In the inscription, Sargon styles himself

  • display-2957Sargon, king of Akkad [naming his capitol after himself, like “Alexandria” in Egypt],
  • overseer (mashkim) of [the goddess] Inanna,
  • king of Kish,
  • anointed (guda) of Anu / Creator, i.e. Messiah / Christ,
  • king of the land [Mesopotamia],
  • governor (ensi) of [the line of] Enlil / Adam who was given dominion over the earth by And

Basically Sargon is announcing that he rejects following the God of his father Shem and has gone to the dark side.

The image below of the reconstruction of the ancient city of Ur graphically shows what the post Sin Cities details. The reason for cities filling the newly settled land was to protect the people from the violence of those who were following the way of Cain.

ur

He celebrates the conquest of

  • Uruk – one of Cain’s sin cities, restored after the flood waters receded. A great city known for the White Temple of Anu on a ziggurat.

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  • 5edc9025d9e61f4793d1bd55974f95c2Lugalzagesi, the only king of the third dynasty of Uruk, whom Sargon brought “in a collar to the gate of Enlil.”

Sargon then conquered Ur and E-Ninmar and “laid waste” the territory from Lagash to the sea, and from there went on to conquer and destroy Umma, and he collected tribute from Mari and Elam. He triumphed over 34 cities in total. Ships from Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun rode at anchor in his capital of Akkad on the Tigris River. Submitting himself to the Levantine god Dagan in exchange for his support in his territory, Sargon conquered territories of Upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, including Mari, Yarmuti (Jarmuth?) and Ibla “up to the Cedar Forest (the Amanus) and up to the Silver Mountain (Aladagh?)”, ruling from the “upper sea” (Mediterranean) to the “lower sea” (Persian Gulf).

map-featured-image-post-body

As the above account of the “beginning” of Sargon’s kingdom demonstrates, the list of cities congregating into any kingdom means a warlord’s initial military victories, not his initial building projects.

Arphaxad is more accurately portrayed in gory movies than in glorifying history books.

bn-ij445_madmax_p_20150512103406

mad-max-fury-road-foto-2Sargon is reported to have supported a court, i.e. standing army, of 5,400 men who “ate bread daily before him”. This is a credible number, endorsed by historians although with the assumption that there were thousands of years preceding this explosion onto the stage of history. However, this is a credible number from the biblical account of occurring within only a few hundred years starting with only three reproducing couples.

Population growth is exponential, meaning it increases faster and faster with every additional set of parents. In addition, the growth rate in the first few hundred years after the flood would have far exceeded current growth rates due to the greatly extended years of fertility of the first generations of post-flood people. Today’s women have at most about 30 years of fertility and rarely reproduce to their full capacity, whereas the first generations of people populating an emptied earth had hundreds of years and high motivation to achieve their greatest potential.

Plugging these factors into a Population Growth Calculator I came up with a potential population growth from 6 persons (3 reproducing couples) to 126 million people in 300 years.

Why don’t we see that much of a population?

Pervasive population decimation by constant war.

The ancient psychosocial history documented by the Hebrews is validated by known history.

The total number of Indigenous deaths throughout the Western Hemisphere in the 500 years between 1492 and 1900 appears to be about 175 million…

there is much to be gained by understanding the most sustained loss of life in human history

the near-total destruction of the Western Hemisphere’s native people…

colonial authorities and newly independent states throughout the Americas continued to wage war against Indigenous people and engage in genocidal violence…

many Indigenous nations in what is today the United States were “removed, relocated, dispersed, concentrated, or forced to migrate at least once after contact with Europeans or Americans…”

By any reckoning, the Indigenous Holocaust in the Western Hemisphere was…“the worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed.”

As with the nature of warfare in South Africa upon Shaka Zulu’s appearance on the scene, warfare under Sargon in Mesopotamia changed from seizing property and slave labor between neighboring clans with a minimal loss of life into total destruction of the enemy on the battlefield.

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The innovative tactics and military reforms of both Shaka Zulu and Sargon welded neighboring clans into a powerful empire.

Sargon of Akkad (unknown–2279 B.C.) and his successors bequeathed to the world a concept of power that involved more than military strength. They commanded obedience not simply by winning battles and striking fear in their foes, but also by…serving as earthly representatives of gods their subjects dreaded and revered.

Sargon is known almost entirely from the legends and tales that followed his reputation through 2,000 years of cuneiform Mesopotamian history, and not from documents that were written during his lifetime. The lack of contemporary record is explained by the fact that the capital city of Agade (Akkad), which he built, has never been located and excavated. It was destroyed at the end of the dynasty that Sargon founded and was never again inhabited.

Sounds like classic retribution against a deeply hated enemy.

And Babylon…the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited.” (Isaiah 13:19-20)

The development of the Chaldeans from marauding tribesmen to membership in the most influential circles of power at Babylon can be traced in scripture.

“There was a man in the land of Uz [Arphaxad’s nephew], whose name was Job…And there came a messenger unto Job, and said…The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword.” (Job 1:1-17)

From the beginning the Chaldeans were famous for accessing hyper dimensional power sources through astrology and astronomy.

“Babylon…daughter of the Chaldeans…thou shalt no more be called…The lady of kingdoms…thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever…Therefore hear now thisfor the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness…Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.“ (Isaiah 47:1-13)

After losing their sovereignty, and despite being mingled with other ethnicities, the Chaldeans continued to be identified as a separated people group due to their unique mystical skill set, like the Gypsies.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem…And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain…of the king’s seed, and of the princes…skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans…Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” (Daniel 4:1-7)

Daniel is quite likely the author of the prophecy that came true about 600 years after it was preserved by the Chaldeans.

“there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

The Assyrians

“Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people / nation was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof...” (Isaiah 23:13)

The Assyrian is Asshur, Arphaxad’s younger brother

The biblical account of the close ties between brothers, maintained by their nations the Chaldeans and Assyrians, is validated by other historical records.

The relationship between the kings of Assyria and Babylon had traditionally been close. From the 14th century BC when Assyria became an independent state, the royal families had been linked by marriage. Shalmaneser III of Assyria (858-824 BC) and Marduk-zakir-šumi I of Babylon, for example, are depicted as equal partners on the front of Shalmaneser’s throne base from his palace at Kalhu.

Notice the reference to Asshur raising up towers in the cities? Asshur was an architect or engineer. After building cities for his brother Sargon, it appears he built cities for their younger cousin Nimrod, and finally he built his own cities.

“the sons of Ham; Cush…And Cush begat Nimrod…And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad / Akkad , and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

These are all cities in Chaldea.So it was Nimrod who began the process of ending the Akkadian Empire.

Out of that land went forth Asshur [Sargon’s younger brother], and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

accad

Since Akkad was destroyed and lost with the destruction of its Empire in the period 2200–2154 BCE(long chronology), the stories mentioning Nimrod seem to recall the late Early Bronze Age. The association with Erech (Babylonian Uruk), a city that lost its prime importance around 2,000 BCE…also attests the early provenance of the stories of Nimrod.

Nimrod has his own post in Father of the God-People, his mention here is to bring attention to the familial relationship between the founders of the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian Empires as they jostled for supremacy in Mesopotamia at the same time.

The biblical account of Asshur’s close ties to Arphaxad is supported by other historical records.

The Assyrians were a Semitic people who originally spoke and wrote Akkadian.The city of Ashur was founded c. 1900 BCE on the site of a pre-existing community that had been built by the Akkadians during the reign of Sargon the Great…

Because of a dearth of sources, very little is known of Assyria in the third millennium…Assyria did belong to the Empire of Akkad at times, as well as to the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to one interpretation of passages in the biblical Book of Genesis, Ashur was founded by a man named Ashur son of Shem, son of Noah, after the Great Flood, who then went on to found the other important Assyrian cities. A more likely account is that the city was named Ashur after the deity of that name sometime in the 3rd millennium BCE; the same god’s name is the origin for ‘Assyria’.

The “dearth of resources” leading to the “more likely account” discounts the Genesis account out of hand despite the fact that it has scholarly reliability and validity and has never been disproven. In fact, the “more likely account” is that Ashur, who as the grandson of Noah lived during the 2000’s BC is one and the same with the deity Ashur from the 2000’s BC. As detailed above, the post-diluvian ecosystem triggered rapid genetic mutations resulting in rapidly constricting lifespans to a maximum of about 70 years. These people attributed immortality to the first few generations of centuries-long-living superhuman they never saw age or die.

In addition, as is well-known in Egypt, the ruler was inhabited by the spirit of the god and therefore considered to be the god. Do you see the bias with the constant discrediting of the biblical history? No historian would ever brush aside the Egyptian account of their dynastic founder being equal to their national god.

The king Erishum I built the temple of Ashur on the site in c. 1900/1905 BCE, and this has come to be the accepted date for the founding of an actual city on the site although, obviously, some form of city must have existed there prior to that date…

This is consistent with the estimated date of Ashur’s death, being about the same time as his brother Arphaxad / Sargon.

King Adad Nirari I (c. 1307-1275 BCE) who expanded the Assyrian Empire to the north and south…is the first Assyrian king about whom anything is known with certainty because he left inscriptions of his achievements which have survived mostly intact…

Adad Nirari I…began what would become standard policy under the Assyrian Empire…the best way to prevent any future uprising was to remove the former occupants of the land and replace them with Assyrians…Those segments of the population that had actively resisted the Assyrian presence were killed or sold into slavery, but the general populace became absorbed into the growing empire and they were thought of as Assyrians…

While the whole of the Near East fell into a ‘dark age’ following the so-called Bronze Age Collapse of c. 1200 BCE, Ashur and its empire remained relatively intact…

In the 11th Century BCE…civil war…allowed certain regions that had been tightly held by Assyria to break free and among these was the area known as Eber Nari (modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel), which had been particularly important to the empire because of the well-established seaports along the coast…

The Late Empire (also known as the Neo-Assyrian Empire) is the one most familiar to students of ancient history as it is the period of the largest expansion of the empire. It is also the era which most decisively gives the Assyrian Empire the reputation it has for ruthlessness and cruelty. The historian Kriwaczek writes…

Babylon may be a byname for corruption, decadence and sin but the Assyrians and their famous rulers…rate in the popular imagination just below Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan for cruelty, violence, and sheer murderous savagery…

it is tempting to see the Assyrian Empire, which dominated the Middle East from 900-612 BC, as a historical forebear of Nazi Germany…As with the German army of World War II, the Assyrian army was the most technologically and doctrinally advanced of its day and was a model for others for generations afterwards…

Their most common method of conquest was through siege warfare which would begin with a brutal assault on the city…

The Assyrians common root and cause with the Chaldeans is revealed throughout the first 1,200 years of the Empire’s rule beginning about 1,900 BC. Akkadian continued to be the language of Assyria until about 700 BCE when it was dropped in favor of Aramaic. Second, over one thousand years later the most famous Assyrian ruler takes the name of Sargon for himself.

Sargon II (722-705 BCE)…was able to bring the empire to its greatest height…

his son Sennacherib (705-681 BCE)…campaigned widely and ruthlessly, conquering Israel, Judah, and the Greek provinces in Anatolia [eastern Turkey]. His sack of Jerusalem is detailed on the ‘Taylor Prism’, a cuneiform block describing Sennacherib’s military exploits which was discovered in 1830 CE by Britain‘s Colonel Taylor, in which the king claims to have captured 46 cities. His account is contested, however, by the version of events described in the biblical book of II Kings, chapters 18-19, where it is claimed that Jerusalem was saved by divine intervention and Sennacherib’s army was driven from the field.

The internal reliability of the Judean kings’ scribes documenting the standard practice and many times they were abandoned by their God to the destruction of their enemies, and the well-known spin put on embarrassing failures by politicians of any era certainly gives the biblical account the credibility in this contested report.

Sennacherib drove his army against Babylon, sacked it, and looted the temples…[two of his] sons… assassinated him in his palace at Nineveh.

Hmm. This too is recorded in II Kings, chapter 19, but the historian failed to mention that.

His son Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) took the throne, and one of his first projects was to rebuild Babylon. He issued an official proclamation which claimed that Babylon had been destroyed by the will of the gods owing to the city’s wickedness and lack of respect for the divine…

Hmm. This too is recorded in the biblical record. Hundreds of times.

the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE)…was the most literate of the Assyrian rulers and is probably best known in the modern day for the vast library he collected at his palace at Nineveh…

In 612 BCE Nineveh was sacked and burned by a coalition of Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and Scythians, among others. The destruction of the palace brought the flaming walls down on the library of Ashurbanipal and, although it was far from the intention, preserved the great library, and the history of the Assyrians, by baking hard and burying the clay tablet books…the destruction of the great Assyrian cities was so complete that, within two generations of the empire’s fall, no one knew where the cities had been. The ruins of Nineveh were covered by the sands and lay buried for the next 2,000 years.

Legacy of Assyria

Thanks to the Greek historian Herodotus, who considered the whole of Mesopotamia ‘Assyria’, scholars have long known the culture existed (as compared to the Sumerians who were unknown to scholarship until the 19th century CE). Mesopotamian scholarship was traditionally known as Assyriology until relatively recently (though that term is certainly still in use), because the Assyrians were so well known through the primary sources of the Greek and Roman writers…

Tiglath Pileser III had introduced Aramaic to replace Akkadian as the lingua franca of the empire…the expansion of the empire throughout the Middle East brought Aramaic to regions as near as Israel and as far as Greece and, in this way, Mesopotamian thought became infused with those cultures and a part of their literary and cultural heritage…

Among the greatest of their achievements, however, was the Aramaic alphabet, imported into the Assyrian government by Tiglath Pileser III…Aramaean was easier to write than Akkadian and so older documents collected by kings such as Ashurbanipal were translated from Akkadian into Aramaic, while newer ones were written in Aramaic and ignored the Akkadian. [this allowed later scholars to decipher Akkadian writings and then Sumerian.]

The result was that thousands of years of history and culture were preserved for future generations.

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