Spelunkers Find Cache of Jewelry and Coins of Alexander the Great in Israel

Archaeology news

alexander

Silver coin of Alexander the Great, here depicted in the guise of the Greek hero Herakles wearing a lion-skin cloak, discovered in a cave in northern Israel. Photo: Shmuel Magal, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority.

Just a month after divers found a hoard of 10th–11th-century C.E. coins off the coast of Caesarea in Israel, spelunkers exploring a cave in northern Israel have discovered a cache of ancient jewelry and two coins of Alexander the Great.

The three spelunkers, who are members of the Israeli Caving Club, were visiting one of the largest stalactite caves in northern Israel when they spotted the well-hidden treasure. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the explorers then reported their discovery to inspectors of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Theft.

The two silver coins discovered in the stalactite cave were minted during the reign of Alexander the Great of Macedon (r. 336–323 B.C.E.). From 334–331, Alexander led a series of campaigns against the Persians, whose empire stretched from Asia Minor and Egypt across the Middle East to northern India and central Asia. Frank Holt, a leading authority on Alexander the Great, describes the Macedonian king’s battles against the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the July/August 2001 issue of Archaeology Odyssey:

Backed by a shaky coalition of Greek city-states, Alexander led an army of 37,000 troops against Persia in the spring of 334 B.C. He soon rocked the cradle of civilization with astonishing victories: the Battle of Granicus in 334, the Battle of Issus in 333, the Siege of Tyre in 332 and the Battle of Gaugamela in 331. In just four years, Alexander overran and occupied the rich territories of the modern Middle East, including Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Iran. The Persian “King of Kings,” Darius III, lay dead, his palaces plundered and his armies—which had always outnumbered Alexander’s—scattered. At the age of 26, Alexander had become the mightiest, wealthiest and most celebrated conqueror of all time.

As the point where three of the world’s major religions converge, Israel’s history is one of the richest and most complex in the world. Sift through the archaeology and history of this ancient land in the free eBook Israel: An Archaeological Journey, and get a view of these significant Biblical sites through an archaeologist’s lens.

coin-cache

The 2,300-year-old cache of jewelry and two Alexander the Great coins. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority.

The coins of Alexander the Great spotted in the cave were found with silver and bronze rings, bracelets and earrings dating back 2,300 years.

“The valuables might have been hidden in the cave by local residents who fled there during the period of governmental unrest stemming from the death of Alexander, a time when the Wars of the Diadochi broke out … between Alexander’s heirs following his death,” said IAA archaeologists in a statement. “Presumably the cache was hidden in the hope of better days, but today we know that whoever buried the treasure never returned to collect it.”

Following the spelunkers’ discovery, IAA authorities visited the cave—the location of which has not yet been revealed due to security reasons. The authorities found more artifacts, including pottery vessels, which point to signs of human occupation in the cave from the Early Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period.

“Thanks to [the spelunkers’] awareness, researchers at the Israel Antiquities Authority will be able to expand the existing archaeological knowledge about the development of society and culture in the Land of Israel in antiquity,” said Amir Ganor, director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.

Read the IAA press release.
 


 

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Alexander in the East
When the known world proved too small, Alexander the Great set his sights east. At its height, Alexander’s empire stretched east to India, north to the Danube River and south to the upper Nile.

Amphipolis Excavation: Discoveries in Alexander the Great-Era Tomb Dazzle the World
Dating to the time of legendary Macedonian king Alexander the Great, the Amphipolis Tomb in Greece has been making headlines around the world.

2,800-Year-Old Farmhouse Discovered in Israel
A silver coin of Alexander the Great was discovered under the floor of an ancient farmhouse in Israel.

The Ancient Library of Alexandria
Begun in 306 B.C.E., the Library of Alexandria was a research center that held one million books by the time of Jesus.
 


 

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  1. Paul says

    The jewelry was deposited in the cave following the death of Alexander and a vacuum was created in which the subsequent struggle for power brings a period of instability as the article suggests, seeing as though they didn’t come back to retrieve the items. The first book of Maccabees 1:1-9 sums up this conqueror’s achievements, advancing “to the ends of the earth” while “his ambitious heart swelled with pride” and after which he was succeeded by his generals who divided up the empire and became the source for “increasing evils in the world.”
    The silver coin in the above photo depicting Alexander wearing a lion’s pelt like the legendary Heracles is how Alexander was portrayed in the film “Alexander” when he drinks the poisoned beverage after returning from his eastern conquests to Babylon, having given up his quest to find the the Ocean from which to circumnavigate the world. Before the time of Alexander the historian Herodotus wrote of an account by Greeks from the Black Sea region who claim that Heracles was the father of the Scythian peoples after arriving there from an island beyond the Pillars of Heracles, regarded as the “end of the earth” and that according to Herodotus, “legend says that Ocean is a great river running from the east all around the world; but there is nothing to prove this” (“The Histories” book 4, section 8).
    In “The Ocean in the Literature of the Western Semites” by A. J. Wensinck, the Hebrew word “tehom” that is translated “the deep” and “abyss” was regarded as the state of the primordial element mentioned in Genesis 1:2; “darkness was over the face of the deep.” In the book of Jonah chapter 2 the prophet prays from inside the fish where the word for “deep” is interchanged with the words for “netherworld” and “pit,” and the westward journey on board the ship of Tarshish is also to the ends of the earth. From the various translations of “The Romance of Alexander the Great” by Pseudo-Callisthenes, Wensinck stitches together traditions concerning the quest to reach the dark ocean believed to encircle the earth where nothing can live as if it was the modern notion of the vacuum of space.
    “In version C of Pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander’s journey along the ocean is described as a journey through the land of darkness, as may appear from this description: Starting from there, Alexander marched through the desert towards the ocean, while he no longer did see anything, neither birds nor animals, except heaven and earth; but they no longer saw the sun, only the black air” (Wensinck, p.42).

  2. Paul says

    Paradoxically, the “tehom” was believed to be not only the abode of the dead but the source of life like a subterranean freshwater spring. In the Ethiopian book of Enoch, the patriarch journeys to the west where he was shown a “great and high mountain of hard rock and inside it four hollow corners” which was “deep and dark to look at”, whereupon his angelic guide informs him that “these hollow corners (are here) in order that the spirits of the souls of the dead should assemble into them” (1 Enoch 22:2-3).
    “It is also certain that Henoch’s vision is a vision of Sheol; this means, that the entrance of the ocean, the utmost West, is really no longer a part of the earth, but of the netherworld” (Wensinck, p,34).
    Enoch then inquires about the souls whose “voices were reaching into heaven at that moment” and is informed that it is “the spirit which had left Abel, whom Cain, his brother, had killed” (1 Enoch 22:6-7). The souls are waiting for the day of judgement and the righteous are separated by a “spring of water with light in it” (1 Enoch 22:9), and this accords with what Jesus said about God’s avenging the righteous, “from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah,” the priest murdered between the alter and the sanctuary (Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51, 2 Chronicles 24:21). I am of the opinion that Abel is none other than the ancient city of Ebla that was conquered in the middle of the 3rd millenium B.C.E. by the Akkadian kings Sargon and his grandson Naram Sin. The city was a major trading hub in northern Canaan that specialized in the industry of textiles and was strategically located to protect the road to the cedar forests in the west, like “the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Here we have the secret ingredients used in the sacrifice of the Red Heifer in Numbers 19:6: a piece of wool fabric dyed scarlet color and a piece of cedar wood. This along with a branch of hyssop used in water purification rituals (Psalm 51:7) that had tiny cup-like leaves that retained water and was intended to flush out impurity by a “pure man” (Numbers 19:9) that in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q276-277) meant a person who “pure of all sin[ful] impurity.”
    “For if the blood of goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer on those who have been defiled sanctifies to the extent of cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to [the] living God” (Hebrews 9:13-14). The ritual purification that acts as an anecdote for the body after coming in contact with a corpse also serves as an anecdote for the spirit after coming in contact with “dead works.” In Jesus’ time the Red Heifer was sacrificed on top of the Mount of Olives where Jesus made reference to the “abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:27, 1 Maccabees 1:41-54) occurring in the sanctuary and polluting everything that the people held sacred.

  3. Christopher says

    That coin of Alexander looks fabulous. I’m not a coin expert but the words ‘mint’ and ‘uncirculated’ come to mind.

  4. GENE says

    ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND BIBLE PROPHECY

    Prophecy Fulfillment

    “A male of the goats . . . After defeating the

    proceeded to strike down the Medo-Persian forces twice

    ram and to break its two horns.” in Asia Minor, Alexander’s

    “The ram that you saw possessing army pushed first to the S

    the two horns stands for the and then to the E, completely

    kings of Media and Persia. And conquering the Medo-Persian

    the hairy he-goat stands for the Empire

    king of Greece.”

    (Da 8:5, 7, 20, 21)

    “And your [Tyre’s] dust they In 332 B.C.E., Alexander

    will place in the very midst of used the rubble of the

    the water.” (Eze 26:4, 12) mainland city of Tyre to build

    a causeway to the island city,

    which he destroyed

    “As soon as it became mighty, In 323 B.C.E., at 32 years of

    the great horn was broken.” age, he was stricken and died

    (Da 8:8)

    “Desolate wastes to time His grandiose plans to rebuild

    indefinite are what [Babylon] Babylon as his capital thus

    will become.” (Jer 51:26) failed, and finally its site

    became a desolate waste

    “His kingdom will be broken Alexander’s heirs were

    and be divided . . . but not to murdered, and the kingdom

    his posterity.” (Da 11:4) fell apart

    “The great horn was broken, By 301 B.C.E., four of

    and there proceeded to come up Alexander’s generals had taken

    . . . four instead of it.” over separate sections of the

    (Da 8:8, 22) former empire

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000192#h=7:497-7:984

  5. GENE says

    My apology. My source was originally two columns, somehow it didn’t turn out that way. The points described had to do with Daniel chapter 8:5-8, 20-22. where Daniel’s prophecy predicted the very events between Alexander and Medo-Persia and the ultimate takeover of the Greek empire by his four generals after his death. Also it(Ezekiel 26: 4, 12) discussed the unique way that the city of Tyre would be destroyed by Alexander, pushing the rubble of the mainland city of Tyre into the sea to build a causeway to the island city of Tyre which was also destroyed by Alexander. The letter above(4) is almost unreadable so the manager is welcome to remove it if he wishes. .

  6. GENE says

    We have also the testimony of the Jewish historian Josephus, who states that the prophecies of Daniel were shown to Alexander the Great when he entered Jerusalem. This occurred in about 332 B.C.E., more than 150 years before the Maccabean period. Josephus says of the event: “When the book of Daniel was shown to him, in which he had declared that one of the Greeks would destroy the empire of the Persians, he believed himself to be the one indicated.” (Jewish Antiquities, XI, 337 [viii, 5]) History also recounts that Alexander bestowed great favors on the Jews, and this is believed to have been because of what Daniel said about him in prophecy.

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001118?q=BOOK+OF+DANIEL&p=par

  7. Paul says

    Although the book of Daniel is listed among the Prophets in the English Bible, in my copy of the Jewish Publication Society’s Bible, it is listed among the Writings. It is my opinion that the 8th chapter of Daniel was written after the events described and that the account of Josephus cited by commentator Gene R. should be taken with a grain of salt. It was Josephus who similarly predicted that the Roman general Vespasian would fulfill prophecy by becoming emperor and thus Josephus secured his own position under the new emperor.
    In my previous comment the interpretation of the cedar wood used in the Red Heifer ritual symbolizes the tree of life (cedar trees) that was sought after by Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings as building material for their ambitious projects. The piece of cedar wood used in the ritual was to be the width of a human hand and this reminds me of the reliefs in the palace of Ashurnasirpul II in Calah (Nimrud) that depict mythical winged humans holding a wicker basket in one hand and a pine cone in the other (not unlike an “Easter Basket” that seems to convey the modern expression “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”). In Genesis 3:22, mention is made of putting one’s hand out to take fruit from the tree of life so as to live forever, which is what ambitious monarchs like Alexander set out to do; achieve everlasting fame. But they must first pull the wool over people’s eyes with the promise that everyone will share in the spoils of war.

  8. GENE says

    Authenticity. Some critics question the authenticity of Daniel, assuming the position taken by a third-century heathen philosopher and enemy of Christianity, Porphyry, who contended that the book of Daniel was forged by a Palestinian Jew of the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. This forger, he theorized, took past events and made them appear to be prophecies. The genuineness of the book of Daniel was not seriously questioned, however, from that day until the early part of the 18th century. Jesus Christ’s own acceptance of Daniel’s prophecy is an even more significant evidence of its authenticity.—Mt 24:15; Da 11:31.

    Historical. Several manuscripts of parts of the book of Daniel were found in the Dead Sea caves. The earliest manuscript dates from the first half of the first century B.C.E.; the book of Daniel was an accepted part of the Scriptures in that time and was so well known to the Jews that many copies had already been made of it. That it was recognized as a canonical book of that time is supported by the writer of the Apocryphal, but historical, book of First Maccabees (2:59, 60), who made reference to Daniel’s deliverance from the den of lions, and that of the three Hebrews from the fiery furnace
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001118?q=book+of+daniel&p=par

  9. GENE says

    Those who claim that the book is not really prophetic but was written after the events occurred would have to move up the time of writing of the book beyond the days of Jesus’ ministry on earth, for the ninth chapter admittedly contains a prophecy concerning the Messiah’s appearance and sacrifice. (Da 9:25-27) Also, the prophecy continues on and recounts the history of the kingdoms that would rule right down to “the time of the end,” when they will be destroyed by the Kingdom of God in the hands of his Messiah.—Da 7:9-14, 25-27; 2:44; 11:35, 40.

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001118?q=book+of+daniel&p=par

  10. Paul says

    It would seem, Gene, that the bulk of the book of Daniel was written in Aramaic (inclusive language of the Persian Empire) before the period of the Maccabees, whereas chapters 8 through 12 were written in Hebrew (exclusive language of the Jewish people). Daniel chapter 8 served as a template for events that would unfold in the end of days (Daniel 8:17) and thus shouldn’t be discounted as inspired scripture. I see the vision of the ram and goat as the cold war rivalry between east and west with the two horns of the goat (Daniel 8:3) representing the Godless ideologies of Marx and Lenin while the single horn of the ram (Daniel 8:5) representing Christianity since it was on account of the efforts of Pope John Paul II in Poland that ultimately brought about the demise of the Soviet Empire.

  11. GENE says

    Language. Daniel 1:1–2:4a and 8:1–12:13 are written in Hebrew, while Daniel 2:4b–7:28 is written in Aramaic. Regarding the vocabulary used in the Aramaic portion of Daniel, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Vol. 1, p. 860) says: “When the Aramaic vocabulary of Daniel is examined, nine-tenths of it can be attested immediately from West Semitic inscriptions, or papyri from the 5th cent. B.C. or earlier. The remaining words have been found in sources such as Nabatean or Palmyrene Aramaic, which are later than the 5th cent. B.C. While it is at least theoretically possible that this small balance of vocabulary suddenly originated after the 5th cent. B.C., it is equally possible to argue from a fifth-century B.C. written form to an earlier oral one. By far the most probable explanation, however, is that the missing tenth represents nothing more serious than a gap in our current knowledge of the linguistic situation, which we may confidently expect to be filled in process of time.”—Edited by G. Bromiley, 1979.

    There are some so-called Persian words in Daniel, but in view of the frequent dealings that the Jews had with Babylonians, Medes, Persians, and others, this is not unusual. Furthermore, most of the foreign names used by Daniel are names of officials, articles of clothing, legal terms, and such, for which the Hebrew or Aramaic of the time apparently had no equally suitable terms. Daniel was writing for his people who were for the most part in Babylonia, and many were scattered in other places at this time. Therefore, he wrote in language that would be understandable to them.

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001118?q=book+of+daniel&p=par

  12. Paul says

    “I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam, and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai” (Daniel 8:2).
    “The expression ‘Shushan the palace’ reoccurs in historical sections dealing with the Persian Empire (Neh 1:1, Est 1:2, 5, 2:3, 5). By ‘the palace’ is probably meant to be the king’s residence, which was more in the form of a castle or fortress than merely a luxurious building” (“Daniel; The Key to Prophetic Revelation” by John F. Walvoord, p.180).
    This vision that Daniel had while in Babylon of a future capital of the Persian Empire is significant in that the kingdom of Elam was the firstborn of Shem (Genesis 10:22) and the city of Susa had wine-producing facilities in the middle of the 4th millenium B.C.E. (introducing an alcohol-induced altered state of consciousness that brought forgetfulness), and the influence of this urban center reached southern Egypt in the pre-dynastic city of Naqada where ivory knife handles were found with carved depictions of a man in mortal combat with a lion, a common motif at Susa that would become a common motif for the rulers of Sumeria such as Gilgamesh (whose lion-skin garment was the source for the Heracles myth). Naqada also had extensive commercial and political ties to the region of Cush, the firstborn of Ham (Genesis 10:6) and on what some scholars think is an incense burner discovered in a royal cemetery at Qustul, is a carved depiction of an African pharaoh seated in a ceremonial procession of boats. He is wearing the crown of Upper Egypt before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under king Narmer, circa 3100 B.C.E.
    Thus Narmer was well acquainted with epic hero image that was the proverbial “mighty hunter before the Lord” (Genesis 10:9) and that survived from prehistoric times when someone was needed to protect the villages from wild animals, and eventually, predatory people; an insecurity that the mighty Nimrods exploited.
    Also in Daniel chapter 8 we have the transition of power from one palace to the next while the source for of his vision is an obscure watercourse, the river Ulai, like Ezekiel who had visions by the Chebar canal (near Nippur in Babylon) and in the book of Zohar (1:85a) the name Chebar is translated as “already” or “long ago.”
    “It is written, ‘by the River Kevar’ (Ezekiel 1:3). What does this mean? River of Already, already existing since the day the world was created, upon which Shekinah (divine presence) reveals herself constantly, as it is written: ‘A river issues from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides’ [and becomes four riverheads] (Genesis 2:10)” (“The Zohar” by Daniel Matt, vol 2, p.42).
    “The word Khebar means ‘already was.’ The Zohar claims in a number of places that this ‘river-that-already-was’ is the river from Eden. This river has a number of important connotations. As I wrote in ‘Waters of Eden,’ the river of Eden is first of all seen as the spiritual source of all the waters in the world. The Talmud claims that if one makes a vow that he won’t enjoy the river from Eden, he is not allowed to enjoy any waters in the world, because that is the source of all water. It seems that it is also the source of purification” (“Innerspace” by Aryeh Kaplan, p.144).
    Now we see the contrast between the king’s fortress and the natural element that is connected to the Creator. The rabbinical tradition has Ezekiel using the Chebar river as a ritual immersion bath and in a document found in the Cairo Genizah entitled “The Riders of the Chariot and Those Who Entered the Heavenly Halls,” that is thought to date to the 4th or 5th century, Ezekiel gazes down at the water and sees the reflection of the heavens and their hosts:
    “Rabbi Issac said: The Holy One, blessed be He, showed Ezekiel where the primordial waters are situated in the Great Sea and in its terraces, as it is said: ‘Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?’ (Job 38:16) He showed him a mountain beneath the sea from whence the sacred vessels of the Temple will be restored in the future” (“Jewish Mystical Testimonies” by Louis Jacobs, p.38).
    Check out this account of mystical contemplation in the 27th canto of Aligeiri Dante’s “Purgatory”:
    “Already my slow steps had taken me into the ancient wood so far that I could not see where I had entered: and, see, a stream prevented my going further that, with its little waves, bent the grass that issued from its shore, towards the left. All the waters that seem purest, here, would appear tainted, compared to that, which conceals nothing: though it flows dark, dark in perpetual shade, that never allows the sun or moonlight there.”

  13. Paul says

    Woops; Dante Aleghieri. And I goofed in my previous comment where it should have been the ram w/two horns vs. the goat w/one horn. Alexander the Great opened the trade routes to the far east and medicinal herbs (some with psychoactive properties that unlock the subconscious stream of revelation, or a “waking dream”) likely became the source for some inspired writings within post-Alexander Judaism.

  14. Kurt says

    Scripture index: Daniel 1:1-12:13
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/lv/r1/lp-e/0/11788

  15. Paul says

    I guess Rabbi Nachman of Breslov summed it up when he wrote:
    “It is best to meditate in the meadows outside the city. Go to a grassy field, and the grass will awaken your heart. Know that when you pray in the fields, all the grasses come into your prayers. They help you and give you strength to pray. It is for this reason that prayer is called ‘Sichah.’ This shares a root with with the word for grass, as in, ‘All the grass (Si’ach) of the field …’ (Genesis 2:5). It is thus written, ‘And Isaac went out to meditate (Suach) in the field’ (Genesis 24:63). His prayer was helped and strengthened by the field, since all the grasses fortified and aided his prayer” (“Meditation and Kabbalah” by Aryeh Kaplan, p.312).
    The Beersheba region where the Patriarchs settled had since prehistoric times a tradition of being under the influence of a “group of religio-political specialists” during the Chalcolithic period and that these “elites were essentially shamans and not chiefs” (from the pdf, “The Gilat Woman”):
    alexanderjoffe.net/gilat.pdf
    Before Egypt was unified under the first Pharaoh Narmer, The region of Beersheba, which was the earliest center for metallurgy in the prehistoric Levant as well as a hub for international trade, had common affinities with the the merchantile city of Maadi which also specialized in copper production located at the apex of the delta region in northern Egypt (before Memphis became prominent), in that they utilized underground storage rooms for commodities stored in pots.
    “Maadi is unique among the villages of prehistoric Egypt in possessing true underground houses. Since such structures are present at several sites around Beersheba in southern Palestine but otherwise foreign to Egypt, archaeologists believe them to be imports and perhaps even the actual houses of aliens resident at Maadi” (“Egypt Before the Pharaohs” by Michael A. Hoffman,” p.201).
    “A unique type of subterranean architecture is found in the Beersheba region. The Chalcolithic settlers took advantage of the soft loess soil to carve out a series of burrows and subterranean dwellings, storage and work rooms. These underground quarters, which resemble ant nests in plan, were suited to the regional climate and are a good example of the creativity characteristic of the Chalcolithie people and their adaptation to the environment” (“Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000-586 BCE” by Amihai Mazar, p.66).
    The walls of these cellars were also utilized as a display for artistic murals, and that’s what I suggesting in my previous comment with the example of subterranean art from the public domain. Should I mention the fact that mushrooms thrive in dark and moist cellars?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/world/americas/a-hallucinogenic-tea-time-for-some-brazilian-prisoners.html?ref=world&_r=0

  16. Paul says

    It is interesting how the post-Alexander interpreters of scripture continued the tradition of Daniel from the Chaldean rule through the Persian rule (from India to Cush, Esther 1:1, with the city of Susa having prehistoric significance (when they began producing wine there the the cities of Beersheba anf Maadi began copper production, circa. 3500 B.C.E., thus giving them status as magicians that was associated with Moses’ copper serpent in Numbers 21:9) and then the ancient tradition somehow gets transmitted through space and time and lodges like a crystal in your unconscious mind like those murky-sounding tracks from the Pink Floyd “Ummagumma” album, entitled “The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party.”

  17. Paul says

    One cannot help but notice the parallels between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the prehistoric stash of copper utensils used in ritual service at the shrine at En Gedi that was found in a cave at Nahal Mishmar, west of the Dead Sea. The artisans were likely from the Beersheba region and they were like Bezalel the son of Uri who was filled with the “spirit of God in wisdom and in understanding and in knowledge” (Exodus 31:2), and they demonstrated how advanced they were and here’s another pdf that includes a photo of the treasure where they found it. It also includes a description of the type of soil known as “loess” that the artificial caves and sunken chambers were carved into in the northern Negeb desert; as a silty windblown deposit:
    https://www.academia.edu/4908645/The_Subterranean_Landscape_of_the_Southern_Levant_During_the_Chalcolithic_Period

  18. Paul says

    This amazing discovery of a stash of jewelry and coins bearing Alexander’s profile seems to have brought us back full circle to prehistoric belief systems in an afterlife as evidenced by the interring of human skeletal remains in elaborately decorated ceramic ossuaries deep in a cave, the womb of the earth (the word for ground, “adamah, and man, “adam,” contain the root word “dm,” meaning blood), and so death was associated with rebirth.
    From the pdf, “The Gilat Women,” the ceramic votive shrine offering molded in the form of a woman has red wavy lines painted on her torso in two and three strands. On the ossuary with the human face, the mouth is a zig zag like the representation of water in Egyptian heiroglyphics particularly the words for the god Nu, the primordial water, and the goddess Nut, who was in the earliest times a water goddess.
    “Nu is the name given to the vast mass of water which existed in primeval times, and was situated presumably in the sky; it formed the material part of the great god Tem, or Atmu, who was the creator of the universe and of gods and men. In this mass, which was beleived to be of fathomless depth and of boundless extent, were the germs of all life, and all kinds of life, and for this reason the god who was the personification of water, i.e., Nu, was called the ‘Father of the Gods,’ and the ‘producer of the Great Company of the Gods.’ The watery mass of Nu was the prototype of the great World-Ocean which later ancient nations believed to surround the whole world” (“The Book of the Dead”, by E. A. Wallis Budge, Gramercy Books, p. 162).

  19. Paul says

    From the “Gates to the Old City; A Book of Jewish Legends” by Raphael Patai, p.168:
    “When Alexander of Macedonia passed by a source, he sat down to eat his bread. He had with him salted fishes, and when he washed them they emitted a fragrance. Thereupon he said: ‘It would seem that this source comes from the Garden of Eden.’ Some say that he took from the water and washed his face in it, and some say that he went along the course of water until he reached the gate of Paradise. He raised his voice and cried: ‘Open me the gates!’ He was answered: ‘This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter it’ (Ps. 118:20). He said: ‘I too am king, and am highly regarded. Give me something!’ They gave him a scull. When he subsequently weighed it against all his gold and silver, it outweighed everything. He said to the rabbis: ‘What is this?’ They answered him: ‘The skull is the [housing of the] eyes of flesh and blood which are never satisfied.’ He said to them: ‘What proves this?’ Thereupon they took a little earth and covered the skull with it, and it was instantly reduced to its proper weight (B. Tam. 32b).”

  20. Paul says

    There’s a nice little read on the Wikipedia page for Kubaba, a queen from the dynasty of Kish in Sumeria. Kish was the first city where kingship descended to after the flood in the Babylonian king list and it may be alluded to in Genesis 10:8, “Cush (Kish) became father to Nimrod,” since it was customary for kings in Mesopotamia to give themselves legitimacy as heirs to the divinely ordained kingship from Kish; “hence the saying, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord'” (Genesis 10:9). Described as one of the few women in Iraqi history to rule by her own right, Kubaba later became defied and her identity as the Hurrian goddess Hepat or Heba is who we know as Eve. It is her identity as the goddess Cybele in western Anatolia and Greece from which we have the word ‘sibyl,’ denoting a class of prophetesses, best known in the writings of the Sibylline Oracles from the Roman period.
    Perhaps the writer of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve had at his/her disposal, texts written by Hurrians settled among the Hebrews in the central hill country of the southern Levant. Known as the Jehovist writer, or ‘J,’ the author of Genesis would inspire a movement like Kubaba.
    “Doubtless J’s work startled those to whom it was read in the tenth century B.C.E., but such startlement is an attribute of the strongest literature. Shakespeare wrote no genre. What again, is ‘Troilas’ and ‘Cressida?’ It is comedy, history, tragedy, satire, yet none of those singly, and more than all of them together. What is Dante’s ‘Commedia?’ It is an epic, a comedy, a spiritual autobiographry, or a prophecy in the mode of the wild Joachim de Flora? J mixes everything available to her and produces a work so comprehensive and so universal that the entire Hebrew Bible, Greek New Testament, and Arabic Koran could be founded upon it” (“The Book of J” by David Rosenberg and Harold Bloom, p.18).
    Bloom mentions the three major monotheistic religions being founded on the book of Genesis and this recalls the prehistoric ceramic ram bearing three vessels called cornets that found in connection with the ceramic woman from Gilat and had a cultic significance.
    http://alexanderjoffe.net/gilat.pdf
    The pdf mentions that the figurine of the woman holding a churn atop her head (that appears to be connected to her head) “and the accompanying ram figurine were part of a fertility cult ‘centered around milk and/or water, in which birth, death and rebirth were perceived as cyclical, ensuring the revival of the dead.'”
    In the book of Job 10:10, there is a connection between milk and the formation of the embryo; “Did you not proceed to pour me out as milk itself and like cheese to curdle me?” This is not at variance with ancient Egyptian beliefs concerning the primeval waters of Nu, or Nun, as being in the embryonic state of all creation.
    “Nun is the abstract and primordial milieu symbolized by the waters, the cosmic ocean; it recalls the fact that all life, including the human fetal gestation, began in water. Then again, the first effect of the creative act is liquid, an animated water; this means that it is necessarily contains a styptic fire capable of coagulating it in the same manner as the female albuminoid liquid is coagulated by heat” (“Sacred Science; The King of Pharaonic Theocracy” by R.A. Schwaller De Lubicz, p.189).


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