SEDER OLAM - Revisited

סדר עולם - חדש



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Index of names


Generations  1-14
(3760 - 2080 BCE)

Generations 15-21
(2080 - 1240 BCE)

Generations 22-28
(1240 - 400 BCE)

Generations 29-35
(400 BCE - 440 CE)

Generations 36-42
(440 - 1280 CE)

Generations 43-49
(1280 - 2120 CE)

Generation 50

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Hebrew years 360 to 480 (3400-3280 BCE)

Nile Valley

In Hebrew year 395, Kenan had a son he called Mehalal-EL which means "The one who praises God". On Cain’s side, Irad’s son was named Mehaya-EL which means "The one who gives life to God". We see from these similar names that the two descendances probably lived in the same area of Sumer, and even probably competed one against the other, both claiming that they ruled with the help of their God. The son of the latter was called Metusha-EL which means "The one who crushes God", so presumably he aimed to conquer cities ruled by other self-made "god-rulers".

The possible purpose of having added -EL (God) to their names was that they wanted to fill with fear their followers, and their enemies. Other civilisations would later adopt the same principle, which was that their rulers were gods themselves, or chosen by the gods. Also we have to consider that the names given in the Bible were probably not the names at their birth but names assumed later in the lives of the individuals and the ones they were remembered, and recorded, for. Anyhow, the usage of EL suffix mentioned in the Bible is confirmed by archaeology of the ancient societies (such as in the Ebla tablets) which shows that, up to a certain point if time, such suffix (or its form as IL) was commonly used, and later evolved into the suffix IA (also written YA). 

Then, in Hebrew year 460, Mehalal-EL had a son he named Yered which is not without reminding of Irad, Cain’s grandson. But this name means "Descent". Yered moved away from Sumer and Canaan and established himself as far away as possible from the known world of his time, which was the Fertile Crescent. He and his followers "descended" to the Nile valley where they were physically stopped in their march by the vast desert. They settled in what was to become the other big civilization of these times: Ancient Egypt.[1a]  But, in these times, Egypt was not named as such. 

In Egypt, some of the knowledge learned from Sumer remained the same: the language was also based on pictograms which would then become the hieroglyphs,[1b] the technique of producing sun-dried bricks for city construction was taken from Sumer which was the first region to build cities,[2] the pyramids themselves seem to have been inspired by the Sumerian ziggurat, [3] and the Egyptian future rulers, the Pharaohs, would go as far as presenting themselves as "living gods".

Sun-dried bricks

Sun-dried brick wall (source: iMalqata)


[1a] Until recently, scientists believed that the earliest civilization in the Nile Valley (which should not really be called Egyptian, as the name Egypt came much later) dated back from 4000 BCE; but recent study has proved that it started later, around 3600 BCE, based on current estimates, and that the first kingdom started no later than 3100 BCE; this finding puts the timeline of Egypt right back into Biblical timeline ! To see the related article of September 2013 from the BBC, click here

[1b] The earliest inscriptions found in Egypt are considered to date from about 3200 BCE, which is contemporary from the time of Biblical Yered; see article Inscriptions suggest Egyptians could have been first to write, New York Times, 16 December 1998

[2] See Wikipedia referring to a book by Mogens Herman Hansen, A Comparative Study of Six City-state Cultures, KÝbenhavns universitet Polis centret, Videnskabernes Selskab, 2002

[3] The first pyramid of Ancient Egypt was Djoser's step pyramid, dating about 2600 BCE, which was a set of platforms, one piled on top of another, to form a step structure; in Sumer, the first equivalent structure were mounted platforms built around 3500 BCE which were the precursors of the more known ziggurats which began to be raised after 2900 BCE; see Wikipedia on this topic

Copyright © Albert Benhamou 2013 - All rights reserved.