Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Part 3a: Ancient Spooks...Link to a spooky past


Part III: 

Link to a spooky past 

By Gerry, July 2018 

Hello again, dear readers. I welcome you all to our central piece, where I am going to share my link to the Ancient Spookians, the progenitors of today’s hidden aristocracy. If you came here by coincidence and don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d suggest you read the other papers first. 

This one will be very uncomfortable since it concerns the Names of God. Yes, that God. I think some of God’s names were edited away, because either someone played around with those names, or the Biblical editors thought someone did, or the Biblical editors thought that some Biblical readers would think someone did. I am one of those readers. 

We’ll also see that the editors weren’t paranoid: A lot of Biblical material refers to Ancient Spookia, and a lot of puns as well. And we’ll see that it was much closer to Ancient Israel than is let on. I stress again that this does not change the Biblical message, which we mustn’t confuse with the attitude of some messengers. 

Lords, Lords, Lords 

Much as I’d like to cut right to the chase, we need a short vocabulary lesson for the link between human lords and divine lords. If you know Hebrew already, you can skip this. In the Bible, there are mainly three Hebrew words for “God” or “gods”: Adon, Baal, El. However, all three can also mean simply “lord”, as for human lords. Like many other ancient languages, Hebrew has no exclusive word for gods. 

(Conversely, the English uppercase LORD in the Bible does not stand for “lord”, but for God’s name YHWH, which has no officially known meaning.)

There is also a hierarchy of sorts: 

Adon  (אדן) means “lord” as a title for people used in everyday language, just like “milord”. It also appears as a title for Canaanite gods in inscriptions. The Biblical God is also called Adon (lord), Adoni (my lord), but curiously also plural Adonai (my lords). “Adonai” is the official reading instruction  (Qere) for all instances of YHWH, expressed by the Masoretic vowel-dots underneath. Adon appears sometimes in theophoric names. 

Baal  (בעל) means “lord”, but also “owner”. It is used in Hebrew for people with a special ownership designation (“landlord”, “husband”). For Canaanite gods, it is a general title, preceding their actual names (Baal-Something). For the Biblical God, this word is not used, but seems to be declared as abolished in HOSEA 2:16, so it may have been used in earlier times. Baal has thus become a Biblical synonym for “foreign god” in the many warnings against idolatry, and the word became further demonized in Christian times (Baal-Zebub). Baal appears a lot in theophoric names of Canaanites, but very rarely with Hebrews. It’s assumed that this is only because later Biblical censors purged the Baal particle from all Hebrew names, such as by  changing Ish-Baal into Ish-Boshet

El  (אל) also means “lord”. It can be followed by an attribute (El-Something), just like Baal. Both Canaanite gods and the Biblical God are called El. Curiously, as with Adon, the Biblical God is called El (lord), but also plural Elohim (lords) and Elohai (my lords). This is explained as majestic plural, or as a remnant of polytheism. On a  very few occasions, the Bible uses Elohim with plural verb forms, so the sentence is then about “Gods”. In the Bible, the title El is only very rarely used for human lords, but when it is used, it is reserved for the highest of lords  ( EX 22:8, JUDG 5:8, 1 SAM 2:25, EZEK 17:13, JOB 41:25). Interestingly, El appears in theophoric names very often, with both Hebrews and Canaanites. 

That’s all common knowledge, so why did I put it up here? Just to show that grammatically, gods were close to lords. And it seems that either some aristocratic spooks made one giant pun out of it, or some editors thought they did, or they thought we’d think they did. 

The Names of God 

Okay, enough of the preliminaries. I’ll now show you the link that led me to the Ancient Spookians. That link itself is weak, yet what I found on the other side is such a mountain of evidence that I think it’s worth sharing the link as well. Of all the things I found in the Bible, this is the strangest. If it is what I think it is, then it would explain nearly everything. Yet the little snippets I found are not enough for a conclusion. And that is again due to censoring. 

The most important names of God for our purpose here are the YHWH Tetragrammaton (English LORD) and the many variants of El. Since El appears in many ancient texts all over the Levant and beyond as a term for gods, whereas YHWH appears only in the Bible, El is thought to be the older name. Yet YHWH already appears in the Book of Genesis, the oldest book in content and style. In the Biblical narrative, God reveals his name YHWH to Moses in the Book of Exodus, stating that this revelation is new and that the name YHWH has not been revealed before.

God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD;  EX 6:2

וידבר אלהים אל־משה ויאמר אליו אני יהוה 

and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them .  EX 6:3

וארא אל־אברהם אל־יצחק ואל־יעקב באל שדי ושמי יהוה לא נודעתי להם 

Yet in earlier verses from the Book of Genesis, God already appeared to Abraham and Jacob and revealed his name as YHWH, even using the exact same phrase: “I am the LORD” (יהוה אני.) 

And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”  GEN 15:7 

ויאמר אליו אני יהוה אשר הוצאתיך מאור כשדים לתת לך את־הארץ הזאת לרשתה 

And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.  GEN 28:13 

והנה יהוה נצב עליו ויאמר אני יהוה אלהי אברהם אביך ואלהי יצחק הארץ אשר אתה שכב עליה לך אתננה ולזרעך 

This is a  widely known contradiction. The most famous explanation is that all books have been compiled from different sources, with an “Elohist” source using the El names and a “Yahwist” source using YHWH. 

I have a different theory: I think that YHWH was used to censor out older names of God that became unwanted in later times. For this, the editors wouldn’t need a different source, but would just copy the existing text and insert YHWH in place of the old names. 

Why would the editors do that? My initial guess was that some earlier names of God were derived from polytheistic religions, and later changed into YHWH as these religions were vilified and portrayed as enemies. So here’s what I did: I looked up those few El-type names of God that still appeared in Genesis and Exodus, and tried to find them in inscriptions outside of Ancient Israel. Even Proto-Semitic scripts can be  mapped 1:1 to modern Hebrew letters, so you can compare names very well. (I’ll start showing you letter-for-letter transcripts here to make that easier. It’s not meant to be intimidating, so skip it if you don’t need it.) Since the Canaanite religions often titled gods as Baal, I would also substitute El for Baal, since both words mean “lord” and were used for gods. I actually did find some of these names, but to my astonishment they were not names of gods, but of people, powerful people even, with human “lords” among them. 

Most matches can be explained by the fact that the patterns for naming people and gods are the same, with El or Baal, plus an attribute: El-X or Baal-X. For gods, this is interpreted as a divine name: “Lord of X”. For humans, the same pattern is interpreted as theophoric: “The Lord is X”. There’s nothing inherently wrong about this. But the question is: How do powerful people, who are lords of their own, interpret their own Lord-names? Do they bow to a higher Lord, or do they feel they are themselves this Lord? 


Here’s an easy example of these divine names: God is very often called a “judge”. A  shaphat or judge (שפט) from the Book of Judges is a local ruler, who upholds law and order in his region. In an allegory, this title is also applied to God many times in the Bible. It is also used in a play of words: God the Judge judges: 

I therefore have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may the LORD, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon. JUDG 11:27

ואנכי לא־חטאתי לך ואתה עשה אתי רעה להלחם בי ישפט יהוה השפט היום בין בני ישראל ובין בני עמון 

We find the same wordplay in Genesis, when Abraham calls God the “Judge of the Earth”. 

Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal [judge] justly?  GEN 18:25 

חללה לך מעשת ׀ כדבר הזה להמית צדיק עם־רשע והיה כצדיק כרשע חללה לך השפט כל־ הארץ לא יעשה משפט 

But then there is a similar verse earlier in Genesis, where we would expect the same wordplay. But in this case, we only find the name YHWH. 

And Sarai said to Abram, May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me .  GEN 16:5 

ותאמר שרי אל־אברם חמסי עליך אנכי נתתי שפחתי בחיקך ותרא כי הרתה ואקל בעיניה ישפט יהוה ביני וביניך 

Was there wordplay there which has been thrown out? In the extant examples, it’s only ever YHWH-Shaphat or just Shaphat; titling God as “El-Shaphat” seems to be avoided. Why? Because it’s also a personal name:  Elishaphat was an officer from the Chronicles of Kings, and more people might have used that theophoric name. Personally, I don’t think there’s a problem with that. A problem would arise if a human lord using that name was so powerful that he would be called an El or Baal himself, so you wouldn’t know whom the “lord” refers to. 

Were there lords like that? Yes, I found indeed such an example: three kings of Byblos, a wealthy Phoenician merchant city in Israel’s vicinity, were written Shaphat-Baal (שפטבעל ,(usually vowelized to  Shipit -Baal. The first two are only known from Assyrian cuneiform, but the third has a Semitic inscription, dated somewhere  around 900 BC, so we can see the spelling is the same. A facsimile can be found  here, a translation here. The first and last line contain the name, spelled ŠPṬ (שפט) ,so it indeed stands for “judge”.

Literary Sources for the History of Palestine and Syria: The Phœnician  Inscriptions,

Shipitbaal inscription, the name found in lines 1 and 5

1. The wall built by Shipit-Baal king qr zbny špṭbʿl mlk קר זבני שפטבעל מלך ... 5. days of Shipit-Baal and years over Byblos ymt špṭbʿl [w]šntw ʿl g[b]l ימת שפטבעל ]ו[שנתו על ג]ב[ל

Were these three Shipit-Baal kings the only ones with that name? No, Phoenician names include both Baal-Shaphat and Shaphat-Baal, with many variants. Perhaps that was the reason not to include the name El-Shaphat as a name of God. It may be a coincidence, but we’ll find more of these. 

El Roy 

Here’s an example with a complicated source. I’ll keep it as short as possible. In the book of Genesis, Abraham’s Egyptian maid Hagar, thrown out of the camp with her son Ishmael, is visited by a messenger of God. Since the Bible often equates God with his messengers, words or prophets, Hagar then seems to answer to God directly. God’s name is given in the text as YHWH, but Hagar calls him El-Roy, the “God who sees”, as he has “seen” her in the desert. 

So she called the LORD who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?” GEN 16:13 

ותקרא שם־יהוה הדבר אליה אתה אל ראי כי אמרה הגם הלם ראיתי אחרי ראי 

The verse contains the word roi (ראי” ,(to see”, three times. In the next verse, this is used to explain the geographic name of the oasis “Beer-lahai-roi”, so that might be a reason why the editors left that name in, and didn’t change it to YHWH. A variant of that name appears on an Egyptian papyrus as the name of a messenger to a prince of Tyre, also a Phoenician merchant city. This papyrus is one of the many texts passed down to us as a scribal exercise copy. Several such papyri were sold to the British Museum by the wealthy merchant Anastasi. Papyrus Anastasi three sheets 5–6 contain on their backs the “Extracts from the Journal of a Border Official”, from the Egyptian-Syrian border during the reign of  Merneptah who ruled 1213–1203 BC. They are on the  British Museum website and the page seems to be  this one, but I can’t read the Hieratic cursive script. A transcript was published by the Egyptologist Gardiner in his “Late-Egyptian Miscellanies” on page 31. Gardiner’s works are closed off everywhere, I found only a shared copy here. The lines containing the name have many translations,  here’s one: 

The Guardsman Baal-Roy, son of Zippor, of Gaza, went up, who had two different despatches for Syria: the Commander of the Garrison Khay, one despatch; the Prince of Tyre Baal-Termeg, one despatch. 

Gardiner’s transcript for the name is “bꜥrry”, which could be an Egyptian spelling for Baal-Roy. The part has a hole, but you can still see the tops of the 2 reeds. His transcription for the prince of Tyre is “bꜥrwtrmgw”, but that part is badly ripped, with only the Baal still visible. 

So, perhaps there was a Phoenician official called Baal-Roy, just like God was called El-Roy.

[the reader needs to look at the top of page 5 at the source for this image DC]

Was that worth the trouble to hunt down this snippet? It’s like reading tea leaves. What if Gardiner got it wrong? Why am I bothering you with this? Well, the interesting thing is how mainstream scholars treat that name: They deviate from the straightforward translation “the servant Baal-Roy”, and make it “the servant of Baal, Roy”, desperately trying to split the “Baal” off that name. Ancient Egyptian has no word for “of”, so that could theoretically be correct as well. Here’s one example: 

There went up the servant of Baʿal, Roy, son of Zeper, of Gaza, who had with him for Syria two letters, as follows: (for) the captain of infantry, Chay, one letter; (for) the chief of Tyre, Baalat-Remeg, one letter. 

They wouldn’t do this just to bury “Baal-Roy” as a variant of “El-Roy”, or would they? One indication is that they’re not splitting the “Baal” off the prince’s name “Baal-Termeg” or “BaalatRemeg”. An even better indication is that in the same text, two other “servants” or “guardsmen” are recorded to pass the Syrian border, who are not servants “of” some deity. So, everyone who knows the entire text can see that this translation is really garbage! Gardiner himself even  fought to correct it, yet it’s still in the majority of books. Gardiner was an aristocrat as well, but maybe he had a bit of professional honor left in him here. 

As an aside, there are several places called Elroy, including an  Elroy close to King Ranch territory, officially named after a shop owner’s boy called “Leroy”. Not very convincing. 

El Qanna 

A more famous example of a name of God that has been left in, at least partly, is the “Jealous God”, El Qanna. The Israelites are instructed not to worship other gods, because God is named “jealous”, but the word  qanna (קנא) for “jealous” occurs twice: 

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous [YHWH Qanna], is a jealous God [El Qanna].  EX 34:14 כי לא תשתחוה לאל אחר כי יהוה קנא שמו אל קנא הוא

Since the word is used twice to explain this name, it’s probably supposed to be a pun. But the joke is lost on us, as both occurrences are exactly the same word, making all translator struggle: “YHWH Qanna is named El Qanna”. Since Exodus switches a lot between YHWH, El and Adon, this YHWH instance is perhaps a later censoring, and the original had 2 El names: “El Qanna is named El Qanna”? Doesn’t work. And I think the Biblical authors could do better than that. So, it seems that different words were used in the original version. One is qanna. Which was the other one? 

Strangely, the word qanna is only ever used for God. The term for humans is the similar  qinah ( קנאה) ,which can mean “jealous” or “zealous” (both derived from Greek zêlos). Let’s look for pun material in the Brown-Driver-Briggs entry for qinah: 

הָאְנִק noun feminine ardour, zeal, jealousy (from colour produced in face by deep emotion); 

So, it was perhaps a color pun, with red maybe, the face color of deep emotion? “The Red God is named Jealous God?” Amusingly, there seems to be no Hebrew QN-word with the meaning “red”. Sefaria lists qanna as derived from Arabic, so maybe that punny word got lost in Hebrew: 

קנא (√ of foll.; Ar. َأأَأنَق become intensely red (or black), with dye; NH אָהְנִק jealousy; zeal, envy (rare); 

That meaning of Arabic qana’a (َأأَأأنَق (as “red”, is supported by other  dictionaries. Since our spooks were trading dyed cloth, it would be a pun they’d like as well. That Arabic derivation was deleted from the BDB entry for qinah I cited above, even though it’s there  in the original lexicon. The online sites only list it for qimmos, that Biblical plant translated as “perhaps thistles”. There’s also an ancient city called  Qana (קאנא ,(next to the Phoenician city Tyre. Tyre was famous for its dyed cloth, though mostly of purple color like the thistles, not red. Qana is also one possible location for the Biblical Cana where Jesus of Nazareth turned water into wine, which would be another coloring of sorts. Was that the word? 

No, I think the pun had to do with the story context, which is: WAR. The verse about the “Jealous God” comes right after God promises the invading Hebrews that he will drive out their enemies, but warns them that all foreign altars are to be smashed. So, a fitting word in that vein, similar to qanna, is  kana (כנע ),written with K instead of Q, which means “to subdue”. The sentence in the original would have been: “El Kana is named El Qanna” – the Subduing God is also named Jealous God. 

While I don’t like the warmongering narrative and the vilification of foreign religions, this would have been great wordplay, worthy of the Biblical authors. Kana. Qanna. It works. But in today’s version, we have only Qanna. What happened to Kana? What was wrong with it? 

Quick, a surprise Bible quiz: What was the name of the land the Hebrews were invading in the first place, and of the native people that were supposed to be exterminated? That land, flowing with milk and honey, was called Canaan (כנען) ,written exactly like kana, but with an added N. Two verses earlier, in  EX 34:11, the Canaanites are mentioned as one enemy group to be driven out. Bad timing for using that letter combination in a name for God. It would have read like this: “El Canaa… is named El Qanna” – the God of Canaa… is also named Jealous God. So, a later editor likely pasted the Q over the K, because he felt that the original author had associated God with Israel’s enemies, though he hadn’t done it on purpose.

Or had he? There are some interesting associations about Canaan. For the previous 2two names of God, we found a Phoenician king and a Phoenician messenger. One common translation for the word Canaan is: Phoenicia!!! Compare BDB:

Canaan (ᵐ5 Ξανααν, Phoenician כנען = Phoenicia; […] 2. a. land, west of Jordan, into which Hebrews came, and where they settled, subduing the inhabitants; […] b. the coast , especially Phoenicia […] merchant (s) (because Canaanites, especially Phoenicians, were traders); 

So, Canaan means Phoenicia, coast, or merchant, because the Phoenicians on the Canaanite coast were merchants. And although Canaan is written with K, it’s sometimes attested to be that missing Hebrew word for “red dye” corresponding to Arabic qana’a, because the entire coastline of Canaan was dotted with Phoenician merchant cities producing dye. While “Phoenicians” is a Greek exonym, “Canaanites” is said to be a name Phoenicians used for themselves. We can get all these etymological links from the Wikipedia page for  Phoenicia: 

The folk etymological association of Φοινίκη with φοῖνιξ mirrors that in Akkadian, which tied kinaḫni, kinaḫḫi "Canaan" to kinaḫḫu "red-dyed wool". The land was natively known as knʿn (compare Eblaite ka-na-na-um, phn|ka-na-na) and its people as the knʿny. In the Amarna tablets of the 14th century BC, people from the region called themselves Kenaani or Kinaani. Much later, in the 6th century BC, Hecataeus of Miletus writes that Phoenicia was formerly called χνα khna, a name that Philo of Byblos later adopted into his mythology as his eponym for the Phoenicians: "Khna who was afterwards called Phoinix". The ethnonym survived in North Africa until the 4th century AD (see Punic language). 

On the page about the  Punic language, we read that the Carthaginians, who were Phoenicians, still called themselves “Canaanites” in Roman times: 

According to him, Punic was still spoken in his region (Northern Africa) in the 5th century, centuries after the fall of Carthage, and there were still people who called themselves "chanani" (Canaanite: Carthaginian) at that time. 

While the  BDB entry finds the “etymology dubious”, Philo of Byblos states that Phoenicia, as Canaan, was named after the deified mythological ancestor Χνᾶ, transcribed as Khna or Chna. You can read that passage  here (Greek here). How was he spelled in Semitic script? Perhaps like kana for “subduing”. In that case the editors couldn’t leave the original pun as it was: It would’ve read like “god Chna is named Jealous God”, putting a Phoenician deity in place of God. 

But you’ll have noticed that the mythical Chna was written in Greek with Chi, as Χνᾶ. Canaan is spelled with Chi in the Greek Septuagint Bible as well (Χαναάν), not with Kappa. It was also often Latinized as Chanaan. All this wouldn’t translate to Koph, but to Ḥet. And a Ḥet spelling yields yet another rhyming word that fits the war context:  chanan (חנן) ,spelled with Ḥet, and meaning “mercy”. The sentence could have been: “El Chanan is named El Qanna” – The Merciful God is also named Jealous God. Was that the sentence? And if not, why didn’t they use it? 

Because it’s even worse: This time, it would be a theophoric name again:  El-Chanan (אלחנן) ,a common Hebrew name, which BDB says  was also a Phoenician name. The name of the famous Phoenician glass manufacturer Ennion is speculated to be a  translation of Elchanan. And there is again a Baal variant:  Baal-Chanan (בעלחנן) .It’s the name of an Biblical king of Edom ( GEN 36:38),, and of one of king David’s officers ( 1 CHRON 27:28) even though Strong labels him an Israelite.

I even found an votive inscription from Phoenician Carthage with that name, plus a namesake of a famous general: : “Hannibal ben Baal-Chanan”, the translation adapted from  here.

Let [the god] Shadrapa bless Hannibal, son of Baalchanan and [the son] of Kanesh 

י בדך שדרפא אח חנבעל בן בעלחנן ואת כנש 

But we can get even closer: For the pun to work perfectly with Qanna, the name shouldn’t have a trailing N, right? If you drop the El or Baal, then you get the short form name  Chanan (חנן) .BDB lists for this name a Phoenician variant without N, with Aleph:  Chana (חנא) ,still interpreted as “Mercy”. This name is usually transcribed “Hanno” in Roman texts, but these Latinizations are often misleading. The Phoenician heartland was coastal Canaan, next to and overlapping with Israel, so I’ll stick to the Biblical transcription “Chana” here. Same goes for the famous name Hannibal (חנבעל) ,which could be transcribed as Chan-Baal as with the El-form  Chani-El. The pun would have been: “El Chana is named El Qanna” – The Merciful God is also named Jealous God. 

And this Hanno or Chana was an extremely prolific name – among Phoenicians! From Carthage, we have a  Chana ben Mahar-Baal, Magon ben Chana, Chana ben Bod-Melqart ben Chana. And of course the Baal-variants:  Bod-Ashtart ben Baal-Chana, and a  daughter of Baal-Chana. There are e over 600 attestations of Chana written as Ḥnʾ. 

And one Chana plus one Baal-Chana are on the  aedilitary inscription from Carthage, dated within 400–200 BC, which lists people from a building project, though their designations are broken off.


Aedilitary inscription from Carthage. Hanno or Chana on line 3, starting with the 6th letter from the right. Baal-Hanno or Baal-Chana on line 4, starting with the 10th letter from the right. 

3. …qart son of Chana and associates. Presented this unto the kingdom: Abd-Melqart [...] 

4. Bodmelqart son of Baal-Chana son of Bodmelqart engineer. Yahu-Elon […] 

qrt bn ḥnʾ wḥbrnm ṭnʾm ʿl hmlkt z ʿbdmlqrt […] bdmlqrt bn bʿlḥnʾ bn bdmlqrt pls yḥwʾln […] 

קרת בן חנא וחברנם טנאם על המלכת ז עבדמלקרת בדמלקרת בן בעלחנא בן בדמלקרת פלס יחואלן 

There’s nothing wrong with these people of course. They were just using common names. But “Hanno” wasn’t just a name of commoners. Wikipedia lists eight  Carthaginian top-level aristocrats named Hanno, one even known for  for his extreme wealth. The most famous one is  Hanno the Navigator, who led a huge colonization expedition around the northwest coast of Africa. Wikipedia avoids the Semitic spelling of Phoenician rulers, but it’s really the same as Chana (חנא .(You can confirm it on the  Genesius page if you search for “Hanno”.

These Carthaginian rulers lived long after the Biblical word plays were written. But the theophoric name “The Lord is Mercy” is ancient, and may have been used in “Chana” form by aristocrats from Canaanite Phoenicia as well. We cannot confirm it, since almost no inscriptions have survived there. 

And there’s one more reason that a Ḥet spelling might have been the pun word: the red color. Remember that the word qanna for jealous was derived from the “colour produced in the face by deep emotion”, red? We were finding many hints in related words and names, but no similar Hebrew word for that color. I think that word might be: henna. Henna is written with Ḥet in  both Hebrew and Arabic. It is written with  with Chi in Greek, as χένα. And it is  Latinized with H, like the name Hanno. You can see though that it was pronounced more like K, from the many K-translations in Eastern languages. Since the word henna is the same in so many languages it must be ancient. Henna usage is indeed  attested for the Bronze Age. Its  region of origin seems to be the Fertile Crescent. And the word stands not only for the plant, but also for the dye and the reddish color. It would have been a great pun word for mercy, since the spelling was likely identical in ancient times: Often Aramaic spellings is closer to ancient Semitic forms than modern Hebrew or even Biblical Hebrew. Syriac Aramaic spelling for henna is ḤNʾ(חנא) ,exactly like the Phoenician name Hanno. This “Hanno” spelling for henna is even used in 20th century Hebrew literature, see  here, here, here, here. It would have been a double pun: The Merciful-Red God is also named Jealous God. 

To conclude: There are three K-like consonants in the Semitic script: Qoph, Kaph, Ḥet. The pun for Qanna meaning jealous or read with emotion was very likely made with either Kana meaning subduing or with Chana meaning merciful and henna. However, Kana was associated with Canaan and a Phoenician deified ruler. Chana was a widespread theophoric name used by Phoenician rulers from Carthage. In both cases, names used by powerful mortals would have been very close to that of God, so Kana or Chana was replaced by a second Qanna, destroying the pun. 


After the Battle of Siddim, God appears to Abraham as a “word” (probably a “commander”, see Part I). He calls himself  magen, spelled MGN (מגן), which means “shield”, and offers the covenant to Abraham. 

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying: Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.  GEN 15:1 

אחר ׀ הדברים האלה היה דבר־יהוה אל־אברם במחזה לאמר אל־תירא אברם אנכי מגן ל ך שכרך הרבה מאד 

It’s the same Magen as in Magen David, the “Shield of David”. David uses the “shield” allegory three times in his song of deliverance( 2 SAM 22:3, 2 SAM 22:31, 2 SAM 22:36). Magen is a smaller shield, often translated as buckler, which only covers the arm. Consequently, the derived word  megginah (מגנה) is yet another word for “cover”. The meaning of “shield” in Abraham’s verse is disputed though, because another reading of MGN would be  magan (מגן) ,spelled the same but vowelized differently. It means “to bestow as a gift”. Since God offers a great reward to Abraham, MGN could also be translated as “bestow”, which would fit the context better than “shield”. My opinion is that it has both meanings! It’s a masterful pun again: The Biblical authors purposefully used a spelling that connects to the previous battle as “shield”, and to the upcoming offer as “bestow”. 

MGN is not officially a divine name, and is not used as a personal name anywhere in the Bible either. The question is: Was it used as a name anywhere else, say, in Ancient Phoenicia perhaps? And here we’ve hit the purple jackpot again: MGN was one of the most common and prolific Phoenician names ever! A listing of Phoenician names shows over 400 attestations of MGN For a civilization that left almost no records, that’s a bundle. There’s also one attestation each for  Magon- Baal and Baal-Magon. The Phoenician name MGN is usually vowelized as Magonand appears on votive steles from Carthage and its colonies. No steles survived in the Phoenician heartland, but since MGN is clearly Semitic, it would have occurred there as well. Examples from the British Museum are Magon ben Hanno, Hanno ben Magon, Abd-Eshmun ben Magon, all commoners apparently, as none lists any title. And all spelled MGN, just like Hebrew magen and magan. The common interpretation is that of magan, i.e. a son has been “given”. 

1. To the Lady to Tanit face of Baal and to the Lord to Baal-Hammon which 

2. vowed Abd-Eshmun son of Magon 

lrbt ltnt pn bʿl wlʾdn lbʿlḥmn ʾš 

ndr ʿbdʾšmn bn mgn 

לרבת לתנת פן בעל ולאדןלבעל חמן אש

נדר עבדאשמן בן מגן

Were there also Phoenician aristocrats with that name? Yes, there were: Ancient Carthage in 550– 340 BC was ruled by a dynasty called the Magonids, after the Latin version of their name: Mago. How was is spelled in Phoenician script? No Phoenician records are left about them. But since their common-folk Carthaginian namesakes are all spelled MGN, the rulers would be MGN well. Of all the Magonids, only  one English Wiki page admits this Phoenician spelling though. 

As an aside, we have some strange name similarities inside Carthage as well, known from Greek and Roman sources. The Magonids resided over an extending Carthage, while the later Barcids, including the famous Hannibal, resided over the fall of Carthage 100 years later. But were they two different dynasties? The names of the Barcid brothers and their father are Hannibal, Hasdrubal, Hamilcar. All three names are also present with the Magonids:  Hannibal Mago, Hasdrubal son of Mago, Hamilcar the Magonid, even a Mago Barca, who combines the family names of both dynasties.

But back to the main topic: Why does only one English Wiki page mention the MGN spelling, and precisely none of the Hebrew Wiki pages, which all go by a Hebrew transcription of the Latin Mago (מאגו ?(Why do the Hebrew pages have no problem to put up the Phoenician spelling  for the Barcids? Is it such a problem if ancient Semitic rulers were written MGN, like the word “shield”? 

It’s a guess, but maybe Abraham’s verse used a similar word as an actual name for God. In the verse, God is called YHWH, though that name had not yet been revealed, according to  EX 6:3. The name Baal-Magon is attested  as a divine name Perhaps a similar name had been used in the Bible, and was censored as YHWH because of the similarity to theophoric names? 

As a final oddity, Magon is a Phoenician name with a trail through Ancient Rome into Ancient Britain, as we will see in Part IV. We’ll also later meet a group of British “Phoenicophiles” from the 17th century, who tried to prove a Phoenician colonization of Britain with name similarities. To link British towns suffixed -Magum, they do bring up the name Baal-Magon, but mean the Biblical town Baal-Meon, where they assume the Ayin pronounced as  Ghayn, like with Gaza and  Gomorrah. Why they never mention all the Carthaginian lords named Magon is a mystery. Or perhaps not.

Coincidence or Abuse? 

So, we have four divine names, close or identical to theophoric names, used by Phoenician lords. Only two of them are real evidence: El Qanna because the ruined pun makes it obvious that the name was changed, and Magon because it’s a name never used by Hebrews but by countless Phoenicians. The question is: Did the ancient lords secretly view their own names as divine names, and enact themselves as god-kings? Or were they mere theophoric names, similar by coincidence, and the censors just wanted to be extra sure? 

The only clue I found comes from the “Phoenicophile”  Samuel Bochart and it’s a bit cryptic. He switches between Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and his ligatures are a nightmare, so I did the best I could here. Since he was from among the elites, I don’t expect any unvarnished truths from him. Here’s the passage, found in Bochart’s “Sacred Geography” and other works: 

A Phoenician history was written in the native language by Sanchuniathon, and copied in Greek by latter-day Herennius Philo of Byblos. Porphyrius in “de Abstinentia”, vol. 2, mentions eight books: The Phoenician History etc., which Sanchuniathon wrote in the language of the Phoenicians, and which Philon of Byblos translated into Greek in eight books. However, Eusebius counts nine: Philon then, he says, had divided the whole work of Sanchunyathon into nine books. But Porphyrius likely is the first banned book in history, which pertains more to Phoenician Theology. 

Excerpts of this can be read in Eusebius, where many stories may be found, of the creation of the world, of the origin of idolatry, of the abuse of God’s names Shaddai, Cabir, Elion, El, Elohim, of Baal, Dagon, Astarte, Berith and others in stead of God in Phoenician cults, of the foundation of cities, of the invention of the arts, of Chna or Canaan the Phoenician father, of the circumcision and sacrifice of Abraham who is called Kronos or Saturn, of Porphyrius Israelem and his wife Anobret and how she conceived through the grace of God, as explained above.

Phoenicum hiſtoriam Sanchoniathon patrio ſermone ſcripſit, ſed Graece reddidit Philo Byblius Adriano σύγχρονος. Porphyrius περί αποχής lib. 2. eam tradit octo libris fuiſſe comprehenſam: ή φοινικική ιστορία andc. ήν Σαγχoυνιάθων μεν τη Φοινίκων γλώττη συνέγραψεν, Φίλων δε ο Βύβλιος εις την Ελλάδα γλώττην δι’ οκτώ βιβλίων ήρμήνευσεν. Tamen Euſebius novem numerat: ο δή Φίλων, inquit, εις εννέα βίβλους την πάσαν του Σαγχoυνιάθωνος πραγματείαν διελών. Sed Porphyrium veriſimile eſt ex historicorum numero primum librum exemiſſe, qui pertinet potiùs ad Phœnicum Theologiam. 

Hujus αποσπασμάτων in Euſebio legere eſt, in quo inter multas fabulas reperitur aliquid veri de mundi creatione, de idololatriæ origine, de abuſu Dei nominum שדי ʃaddai, כביר cabir, עליון elion, אל el, אלהים elohim, de Belo, Dagone, Aſtarte, Berith and aliis pro vero Deo in Phœnice cultis, de fundatione urbium, de inventione artium, de Chna ſeu Chanaan Phœnicum parte, de circumciſione and ſacrificio Abrahæ, quem Κρόνος Saturmum vocat; and Porphyrius Iſraelem and uxoremejus Anobret חנעוברת id eſt quæ concepit ex gratia, ut ſupra explicatum.

I’m not sure if my translation is totally correct, but the important part is clear: Bochart speaks of banished and missing books, and says that God’s names Shaddai, Cabir, Elion, El, Elohim were abused. As the context is about Phoenician religion, I assume he means the Phoenicians abused them. These are uncensored, official names of God. But the problem is: I have not found any abuse of these specific names mentioned in extant works. Bochart was from the church. Did he cite a banished book? The passage is  cited and translated in French, but never explained. 

[Miles: note the name Bochart, which just came up by accident in my own paper of this week. Lady Gaga is a Bouchard/Bochart.] 

In any case, it’s a limited hangout at best. Pagan religions were ring-fenced with allegations of child sacrifice and the like. But I think the real reason why the books where banished was another one: The same ultra-rich overlords ruled over both pagan and monotheistic religions, and judging from the silly puns they’ve inserted in the Bible, they believed in neither of them, but only in themselves. The banished books would contain only some boring official Phoenician history and theology. But we’d find hundreds more Phoenician names, many of which would probably match up with names of historical persons or deities of other countries. Perhaps even with those of God. 

And just before anyone asks: No, I do NOT think that Phoenician Beirut was named after the covenant berit. But someone may have punned around with it, and censoring of that might be the reason why this major city is not found in the Bible, and why the name“Lord of the Covenant” was vilified. Similar puns might have been attempted with Phoenician  Tyre, which means  “rock”, and the many verses where God is likened to a rock. In some instances “God the rock” can still be literally translated into “Tyrian lord”  ( 2 SAM 22:3, 2 SAM 22:47, PSALM 18:2, PSALM 78:35).

So, again, we have four names and some cryptic passages. Is that enough to construct any grand theories here? Definitely not. But it’s enough to pay a visit to Ancient Phoenicia. And what we’ll find there will be very, very interesting. 

Yes, the Ancient Phoenicians are my Ancient Spookians. They might not be the ultimate originators of spookery, but almost every characteristic of today’s spooks matches their public profile perfectly: The Ancient Phoenician elites were ultra-rich aristocratic merchants and financiers from the Levant, speaking and writing a language almost identical to Hebrew, with names almost identical to Hebrew, and a network of colonies that spanned the entire officially known world… But visit Phoenicia with me, and see yourself.

Don’t Lament for Tyre 

Our first stop is Biblical Phoenicia. Can we find more links from Biblical puns to Ancient Phoenicia? In the times of the early Biblical kings, the richest and most powerful Phoenician city was officially Tyre. Much of what is known about about this city comes from the “Laments for Tyre” in ISAIAH 23 and EZEKIEL 27. The Book of Isaiah is usually dated earlier, and contains the most famous characterization of the Phoenician lords: “merchants who are like princes”, i.e. rulers. Since that is what today’s banksters are, this passage alone made an analysis of Phoenicia important to me. I’ll comment here on the verses where I found something interesting. 

The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor; It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus.  ISA 23:1

Tarshish was the name of one or more Phoenician commercial settlements, the most famous being Tartessos in Spain. Cyprus was also a Phoenician colony, at least partially. 

Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea  ISA 23:2

Sidon was the more ancient Phoenician city which founded Tyre. “Sidonians” also seems to have been a general term for “Phoenicians”. Try to remember that, we’ll need it later. 

And were on many waters. The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue; And she was the market of nations.  ISA 23:3 

Remember Joseph’s story from Part I, and the lucrative granary scheme? Grain was apparently an important vehicle for rent-seeking, just like it is today. The Phoenicians traded it from Egypt! 

Is this your jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?  ISA 23:7

הזאת לכם עליזה מימי־קדם קדמתה יבלוה רגליה מרחוק לגור 

Feet? Hah! Tyre was a naval power, they went nowhere on foot. It’s a pun! There’s more meanings for the root  RGL (רגל) for foot: Most importantly, since scouts sneak around on foot, the same word also means “explorer”, or “ spy ”(!), used in  GEN 42:9, JOSH 2:1, 1 SAM 26:4 and other verses! Is it a pun about spies? The verb used for carrying,  yabal (יבל) ,also means to lead or be led, as in ISA 55:12, JER 31:9, PSALM 45:14. . Did spies “lead” Tyre to distant places? Spying is a prerequisite to colonization. And colonize distant and not-so-distant places was what the Phoenicians did. If you were looking for a verse that connects ancient merchant-aristocrats to spying, here you have it. 

Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?  ISA 23:8

מי יעץ זאת על־צר המעטירה אשר סחריה שרים כנעניה נכבדי־ארץ 

This is the central passage: Tyre was a “bestower of crowns”, with “merchants who were princes” and the “honored of the earth”! If you were looking for a verse that admits that powerful merchants were already above kings, and appointed them, this is it! The Hebrew word used here for crowning is  atar (עטר) .This verse is usually explained away as irony, or by claiming that Tyre only bestowed crowns to its own colonies. But you can also read it as hidden influence on all crowned rulers,especially since the “merchant princes” were also the “honored of the earth”. The word for traders here is  kenaan (כנען) ,which also translates as Canaan or Phoenicia. 

He has stretched His hand out over the sea, He has made the kingdoms tremble; The LORD has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.  ISA 23:11 

ידו נטה על־הים הרגיז ממלכות יהוה צוה אל־כנען לשמד מעזניה 

The grammar here is funny in the original: The command is given “to” the merchants, or to Canaan, that the strongholds should be demolished. Shouldn’t it be given to the besiegers? 

Behold, the land of the Chaldeans– this is the people which was not; Assyria appointed it for desert creatures– they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.  ISA 23:13 

הן ׀ ארץ כשדים זה העם לא היה אשור יסדה לציים הקימו ]בחיניו כ[ )בחוניו ק( עררו ארמנותיה שמה למפלה 

Here in verse 13, the Chaldeans of Assyria are to carry out the destruction. Or are they? The phrasing is strange: “Assur was founded for the tsi-im” (לציים יסדה אשור ,(with tsi (צי ) translated as  desert, so tsi-im would be “desert” tribes. But tsi is also a word for ship. If the tsi-im were ship people, Assyria would be founded for the Tyrians themselves?!? What did the tsi people do? Erect towers, not necessarily “siege” towers. They “stripped the palaces”, but some translations say they “raised” them. The Tyrians officially built many towers and palaces in Assyria and Babylon, supplying building material and craftsmen! Then they “made it a ruin”,  mapalah (מפלה), but perhaps instead made it “of” special distinctiveness, me-palah (פלה). 

Ezekiel’s Lament for Tyre 

Isaiah’s prophesy bestows grand titles upon Tyre, but pales in comparison to that of Ezekiel, the “son of man”. Ezekiel’s prophesy contains so much praise and flattery that I can’t list it all here. I’ll comment on the most important verses, as we’ll need this characterization of Phoenicia for Part IV. 

“And you, son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre; EZE 27:2 and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ EZE 27:3 “Your borders are in the heart of the seas; Your builders have perfected your beauty. EZE 27:4

Does the author perhaps adore Tyre? I see no rebuttal here. 

“They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you .  EZE 27:5 “Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars; With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus. EZE 27:6

Cedar from the Lebanon was one of the products on which Phoenicia had a monopoly. Senir is Mount Hermon in the Anti-Lebanon mountains. Cyprus was colonized early on by Phoenicians. 

“Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt So that it became your distinguishing mark; Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah. EZE 27:7

The Phoenicians were the best sailors. Much of their trade was with Egypt, which early on infused the Phoenician cities with pretty much all technology; also with linen.

“The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers; Your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots .  EZE 27:8

“The elders of Gebal and her wise men were with you repairing your seams; All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise.  EZE 27:9 

More praise for another 3 major Phoenician cities, all next to each other. 

“Persia and Lud and Put were in your army, your men of war. They hung shield and helmet in you; they set forth your splendor.  EZE 27:10

The Persians were Tyre’s men of war?!? Remember: Babylon was taken by Persia without a fight. 

“Tarshish was your customer because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth; with silver, iron, tin and lead they paid for your wares.  EZE 27:12

Tarshish again, this time with these resources: silver, iron, tin, lead. We’ll locate Tarshish later. 

“Judah and the land of Israel, they were your traders; with the wheat of Minnith, cakes, honey, oil and balm they paid for your merchandise. EZE 27:17

Many nations are listed to trade with Phoenicia, Judah and Israel as well, who apparently only exported agricultural goods. All of Israel’s neighbors, rivals and enemies are listed as well. 

There’s much more of it, basically an entire chapter of glorification for Phoenician Tyre. What other city got a memorial like this in the Bible, except Jerusalem? But it doesn’t stop here! There is a Lament for the King of Tyre, which contains more praise. 

“Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas’; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God–  EZE 28:2 Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; There is no secret that is a match for you.  EZE 28:3

The first verse is criticism, but the second more praise for the god king? With no rebuttal? 

“By your wisdom and understanding You have acquired riches for yourself And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries . EZE 28:4

“By your great wisdom, by your trade You have increased your riches And your heart is lifted up because of your riches.EZE 28:5

Not just wisdom, but great wisdom. I would simply call it a global trade monopoly. 

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared .  EZE 28:13 

“You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  EZE 28:14

This Phoenician king was in Eden, and is called a cherub! No other mortal in the Bible is likened to a cherub! Also, we have another strange “cover”. He was more likely an undercover overlord. 

“By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. EZE 28:18

I’d also say that the Tyrian trade monopoly was unrighteous, but what are the other iniquities? What sanctuaries were profaned? Wouldn’t these be pagan sanctuaries, derided elsewhere in the Bible? I don’t know what the authors intended with the laments, but the one for Tyre and its king reads like a love letter. The authors of this passage had at least some special affiliation with Tyre. 

The Siege of Tyre 

Ezekiel is instructed to prophesy an attack by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II on Tyre  ( EZE 26:7). The city is foretold to be destroyed and be made into a barren rock. The name of Tyre itself means “rock”, though in another word. The core city with its fortress and temple were built on a small rocky island half a mile off the shore, now a peninsula. That might be where the “rock” stems from, though it may also come from a mainland settlement on Tell Mashuk, a rocky hill. While the mainland city complex was apparently attacked and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, like so often in Tyre’s history, the elites simply retreated to their island fortress. The island had  very high walls up to the shore, at least in Alexander’s time. Since Nebuchadnezzar had no fleet, he erected a blockade on the mainland. This siege is said to have lasted for 13 years, after which the Tyrian elites agreed to terms and surrendered with their fleet. This end is usually dated to  573 BC.

Bronze band from Balawat gate, dated 850 BC, showing Tyrian workers ferrying tribute for Shalmaneser III to the mainland from the fortress, then still on an island. How would you besiege such a place?

Now, does anyone see a problem here? Allegedly, Nebuchadnezzar II, without a fleet, was besieging a fortified island which had the best fleet around. Not only that, but the island also hosted two north and south harbors, with the Assyrian Balawat band showing two gates and small boats bringing goods to the mainland. So trading ships would have arrived and anchored on the island. Discussions of what the island looked like are found here and here. So, while it seems to be a stupid idea to starve out an island when you have no ships, it seems downright idiotic if this island has ships with supplies coming and going every day. Some things like drinking water would become more expensive, but the Tyrians could’ve held out pretty much forever, or simply escaped to one of their many colonies. So why did Nebuchadnezzar keep up this expensive siege? 

I’d say precisely because it was expensive! Uruk temple documents from the time contain an often cited receipt for flour  for the king and his soldiers who went to fight against Tyre. I’d expect the transportation of this flour to turn a better profit than local meals for a peace-size army, wouldn’t you? Another document lists  dates for officials in Tyre A third document lists  military equipment, which brings even more profit. These are just the found tablets. An army in foreign territory incurs huge costs, and thus profit. You might think that while Tyrian merchants were besieged, Assyrian merchants were pocketing this profit. But Miles’ research has shown that the top-down view of the financial elites is unified: nations are mere tools, toys and speculation objects.

In the case of Tyre, there’s evidence to back this up: Remember, the Mesopotamians “deported” elites of conquered kingdoms into their palaces, and filled them up with foreigners! There were lots of Phoenician “experts” employed in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, from  Arwad, Byblos and Tyre. And the Tyrians were the largest group: more than 190 Tyrians are found on clay tablets listing dispense of oil and flour for palace personnel. More may be on lost tablets. A paper titled “Foreign Professionals in Babylon” even cites Phoenician house-builders. The Judean prince  Jeconiah is listed among Babylonian palace officials receiving rations,  titled a king and prince. And like Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar employed lots of foreign soldiers in his palace, a smart move for a king who had just conquered enemy nations! A contingent of 800 soldiers from Elam guarded the governor residence in Babylon, listed together with Elamite house-builders. According to “Foreign Professionals in Babylon”, there were also 216 guards from Caria, plus 2000 other Carians. Eight soldiers from Egypt guarded the governor residence, five others the ship’s house. The paper also cites Nebuchadnezzar’s many journeys to Hatti, Ashkelon and Egypt. 

Now, the big question is: Where were these 190 Tyrians and other Phoenicians at Babylon before, during, or after the siege of Tyre? That’s difficult to tell, because there are no Babylonian records about that siege. Josephus states that it started in “seventh year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar”. But the part of the Babylonian Chronicles about Nebuchadnezzar tells of no such siege. The tablet is broken off after his 11th year, so the siege of Tyre is usually nudged into those off-record years, often the 20th. 
[Miles: so another possibility is that the siege never happened. It was made up like much of the rest of history.] 

The rationing tablets about “Foreign Professionals in Babylon” come mostly from earlier years: 

The clay tablets date to the year 10-28 during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II; one exception is a text from his 34th year. In detail, most texts are from years 10-12 and years 19-20. 

Ten very long lists of sesame oil distribution, the paper dates as follows: 

As far as preserved datings on these tablets show, they are all from year 13 (592/3 BC) of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. 

So, if not all of the 100s of Tyrians are on the one tablet from year 34, then they were working for Nebuchadnezzar before or during the siege of Tyre, when he prepared attacking their cities! 

In an inscription about Nebuchadnezzar’s 7th year, , Tyre is even listed next to Gaza, Sidon, Arwad, Ashdod as having contributed to building Nebuchadnezzar’s South Palace in Babylon. They built him a “Palace Without Rival”, just like they did for Sennacherib, and then he attacked them? 

Just like Sennacherib used Phoenician ships for his conquests  against Elam, trade seems to have gone well between Babylon and Tyre after the alleged siege. “Business tablets” have been found, detailing the  sale of agriculture products like sesame, cattle and dates from Babylon to Tyre, from the 35th, 40th, 41st, 42nd year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Tyre was exporting high-end luxury products like purple cloth, glass and silverware. If you compare today’s nations exporting agriculture products vs. those exporting luxury products, you’ll know who likely got the better deal here.

If you don’t think that’s enough evidence, remember that both the Bible and mainstream historians say that  Nebuchadnezzar II attacked Egypt. That was in his 37th year, according to a clay tablet on display in the British Museum. Remember those eight Egyptian soldiers from the rationing tablets, guarding the governor’s house? No matter which tablet they’re on, they were there before the war. Would a Babylonian king have his house guarded by Egyptians and then attack that nation? 

It’s stated that the presence of this many Tyrians “could corroborate the assumption of a military campaign against the Phoenician cities, especially Tyre”Well, I say it more likely corroborates that Tyrian elites were in cahoots with Babylonian ones! They may have been preparing these campaigns together. Remember the house-builders from Elam and Phoenicia? They built palaces for the Assyrians, but perhaps also for their own elites, so they’d feel right at home, like Hezekiah’s daughters with their personal ivory-inlaid beds. The authors of “Foreign Professionals in Babylon” admit that it’s “ “not easy to explain why all these foreigners were in Babylon and received oil in the royal palace”. I say there’s a very easy explanation. Just not the sort you’re allowed to publish! 

Solomon’s Temple and Palace 
Are there more Phoenician nuggets in the Bible? Most interesting to me is the friendship between the Phoenician king Hiram and Israel’s king Solomon. I consider both to be historical persons, but don’t think that the accounts are entirely historical. Let’s just analyze what the authors want to say. They describe how Solomon builds an insanely expensive temple and palace out of nowhere, and in the process enters into many exchanges with the Phoenician king. It could be a parable on how new rulers and their nations were indebted to the merchants right upon entering office. The Phoenicians enter the stage with the establishment of monarchy, with David and Solomon. As soon as David is king, the Phoenicians build a palace for him, supplying materials and craftsmen.[the  original masons DC]

David became greater and greater, for the LORD God of hosts was with him.  2 SAM 5:10 

Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David.  2 SAM 5:11

Nothing is said about the costs for building that palace, and there’s no such thing as a free palace. Did David pay for it? With what? Did he otherwise become indebted to the Phoenicians? Or was the palace only a preparation for the next king? Remember, David also wanted to build a house for the LORD, which could mean either a temple or a dynasty, but the LORD didn’t want him to build that house. He wanted David’s successor to build it, or alternatively the “servant”. That successor was Solomon, and two literal houses were again built by the Phoenicians. Why did they do this? Was the figurative house, the dynasty, also built by them? 

As the Book of Solomon was lost, Solomon’s remaining story is split between the Book of Kings and Book of Chronicles. In the Kings version, the Phoenicians get active by themselves. King Hiram of Tyre had been a friend of David, which KJV even translates as lover, from Hebrew  aheb ( אהב) .The project is at first a house for the “name” of God, but a house for Solomon himself creeps in later.

Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David. 1 KING 5:1 

Then Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying ,  1 KING 5:2 

"Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’  1 KING 5:3 

Chapters 5 and 6 are long and detailed lists of Phoenician timber from Lebanon, other expensive imported materials, the tens of thousands of workers employed and their provisioning, shipping logistics, and the artwork created by Phoenician craftsmen. In chapter 7, it’s revealed that while a house was built for the LORD, another house was built for Solomon himself. With many verses it’s unclear which house they pertain to, since the words  bayith (בית) and  hekal (היכל) can refer to both temples and palaces. Temples were opened to the public on occasions, but were mainly administrative centers built for lower elites, much like palaces. 

The Chronicles version is more straightforward: Both houses are planned from the start: 

Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself.  2 CHRON 2:1

Then Huram continued, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.  2 CHRON 2:12

But all this accounts for the smaller part of the expenses. The larger part is the cost for high-level craftsmen, shipping of material, but mostly the material itself, as so much gold was built into temple and palace. Solomon ruled over a region which produced mainly agricultural goods, so you’d have to ask how he pays for all this. David already conquered a vast region, and his palace was apparently cheaper, not good enough for Solomon. 

There’s a passage in Kings, where Solomon sells 20 cities to Hiram for 120 talents of gold. 

(Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold according to all his desire), then King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.  1 KING 9:12 

So Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, and they did not please him  1 KING 9:13

He said, “What are these cities which you have given me, my brother?” So they were called the land of Cabul to this day. And Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold. 1 KING 9:14 

In Chronicles, Hiram gives cities to Solomon instead. that he built the cities which Huram had given to him, and settled the sons of Israel there. 2 - CHRON 8:2

Several things to note: First, 600 talents of gold were used in the inner temple ( 2 CHRON 3:8). It was thus worth something like 100 cities. Second, Hiram supplied Solomon with gold “according to all his desire”. This isn’t mentioned anywhere else. They retrieve gold from a joint expedition to Ophir, but this happens after the sale of those 20 cities, in  1 KING 9. Third, a part of Galilee, central to Christianity, was sold by an Israeli king to a Phoenician king. How many other transactions like this took place? Lastly, the Phoenician king Hiram calls Solomon “my brother”  ( 1 KING 9:13), with the word ach (אח) ,used for literal brothers, kinsmen and countrymen, but usually not for mere friends. 

Were Hiram and Solomon related? There are no extant contemporary records. Only later historians fleshed out their relationship, citing now lost sources. Josephus names Hiram’s father as  Abibalus (Ἀβιβάλου), which would be the Phoenician name  Abibaal (אביבעל) .If we were to switch one letter in the Greek or 2 in Hebrew, we’d get  Abdbaal (עבדבעל) ,another Phoenician name, “Servant of the Lord”, which could be the “servant” allowed to build David’s dynasty. Another “servant” is given as  Abdemon (Ἀβδήμουνόν), a smart “man of Tyre” employed by Hiram to cheat Solomon in a game of riddles, probably all of them about puns! A  Phoenician king Abdemon later ruled on Cyprus. 

Could it be kinship via marriage? There’s no way to tell. While David has eight named wives( 1 SAM 25:42, 2 SAM 11:27, 1 CHRON 3:1) Solomon is said to have had 700 wives, and 300 concubines ( 1 KING 11:3). . [Miles: that's a big step up in wifage in one generation, which no one ever comments on, including Gerry. Solomon is supposed to be the son of David, both kings, but lives nothing like him? It is as if the entire set of customs changed at this point. Also extremely curious is Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, previously married to a Hittite. Which would imply she was also a Hittite. Which of course goes against everything we are taught about Jewish lines being matrilineal. Solomon is sold to us as the son of David, not as the son of Bathsheba. At Wiki, Bathsheba's father is given as a Gilonite, but no mother is given. So Solomon's own matrilineal line is scrubbed immediately in the Bible itself—basically, the biggest red flag possible.] 

Eusebius quotes lost sources saying Hiram built  a statue of his daughter with Solomon’s leftover gold, while Tatian quotes sources saying that Solomon married Hiram’s daughterThe Bible has him marry the pharaoh’s daughter instead  ( 1 KING 3:1). Except for one wife Naamah and one son Rehoboam  ( 1 KING 14:21), no names are given for Solomon’s family in the Bible. For such a major king, that’s a little less than what you’d expect. In fact, it is about 999 wives/concubines short.

Solomon the Merchant Prince 
Officially, all Phoenician records were lost, so we do not know how the merchant princes set up and ran their enterprises. But I think this is not true. One account survived: That of Solomon! 

If you pluck a certain range of passages from Kings and Chronicles, then Solomon’s activities can only be described as that of a merchant prince setting up his trading empire: He conquers key cities on trade routes, sets up supply lines, rebuilds new ports, and sends expeditions to tap new resources, all in collaboration with Phoenician city-states. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I think the accounts are not entirely historical, so if Solomon is your personal hero, you can keep it that way. But if we want to know how rich merchants and financiers conquered the world, and what they like about the Levant, then this might be the one piece of official extant scripture that explains it. 

The Phoenician merchant princes were said to be insanely wealthy, and incredible wealth right from the start is one central theme of Solomon’s story. While the Kings version has the Phoenicians supply Solomon with cedar and gold “according to all his desire” ( 1 KING 9:12), the Chronicles version has God bestow wealth upon Solomon, as a reward for not asking for it  ( 2 CHRON 1:12). After that, silver, gold and cedar start piling up in Jerusalem immediately  ( 2 CHRON 1:15), before the Phoenicians appear, with the equivalent Kings section ( 1 KING 10:27) shifted forward. 

However, the next verses in BOTH accounts mention trade, specifying how Solomon’s steeds were imported ( 2 CHRON 1:16). The message that wealth is connected to trade was hidden in a pun-word: miqwe, which can mean both “linen” and “from Kue”. It’s not either one here, but both. It’s a pun. 

Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue [mi-Qwe]; the king’s traders procured them from Kue [mi-Qwe] for a price .  2 CHRON 1:16 NAS And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn [miqwe]: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn [miqwe] at a price .  2 CHRON 1:16 KJV ומוצא הסוסים אשר לשלמה ממצרים ומקוא סחרי המלך מקוא יקחו במחיר 

KJV translates miqwe as “linen” traded from Egypt with the horses. Linen was indeed traded from Egypt, but by Phoenicians  ( EZE 27:7). In later versions like NAS, miqwe is interpreted as mi-Qwe, “from-Kue”, a place on the  coast of Cicilia. The next verse states that the same horses were reexported  ( 2 CHRON 1:17), to the Neo-Hittite and Aramean kingdoms, next to Kue! Who traded horses there? Also the Phoenicians  ( EZE 27:14)! This is  admitted by mainstream scholars It’s also admitted that Cilicia looks like it was colonized by Phoenicians: The region formerly used Hittite cuneiform, but Neo-Hittite rulers introduced Phoenician script at  Karatepe, Çineköy, Zincirli, after the Late Bronze Age Collapse had destroyed the Ancient Hittite Empire, but left Phoenicia unscathed. 

From here onwards, in both Kings and Chronicles, Solomon’s activities can only be classified as establishing a merchant empire: He builds a new Red Sea port in conquered Edomite territory( 1 KING 9:26, 2 CHRON 8:17), builds a merchant fleet with Phoenician help, staffed with naval experts from Tyre ( 1 KING 9:27, 2 CHRON 8:18), and sends joint Israeli-Phoenician expeditions to set up Red Sea trade routes ( 1 KING 9:28, 2 CHRON 8:18) and to acquire gold from Ophir. Ophir is of unknown location, but the name was found on an  inventory note on a pottery shard, so it seems to have been real. You can find an image  here and a transcript here. The shard says the gold is not destined for the capital, but for Bet-Horon, another town Solomon had built up ( 1 KING 9:17, 2 CHRON 8:5). This means the gold was not accumulated at the capital, but traded around, like the horses. 

gold Ophir to Bet-Horon Sh ≡ [30 shekels] zhb ʾpr lbyt ḥrn š≡ זהב אפר לבית חרן ש≡ 

A last episode relating Solomon to trade is the Queen of Sheba’s visit, from 1 KING 10 and 2 CHRON 9.. Again the entire story looks like the setup of trade and family relations between the empires of two clans: The queen arrives “with a very large retinue, with camels carrying spices and very much gold and precious stones” ( 1 KING 10:2), checks out Solomon’s wealth ( 1 KING 10:5),and finally they exchange trading goods and gold  ( 1 KING 10:10, 1 KING 10:13). Solomon’s expeditions to Ophir are also mentioned in this context, but it’s not explained why  ( 1 KING 10:11). If they were navigating down the Red Sea, they could have run into the territory of Sheba, where local authorities might have blocked their journey to extract a toll, and that might have been the reason for the queen’s visit. 

“trade mission” is even attested on Wikipedia. It’s also hinted there that Sheba may have been rather large, as there are two “Sabean” kingdoms in the Bible: likely Yemenite  Sheba (שבא) and likely Ethiopian  Seba (סבא). Both might have been  part of a single entity, separated only by the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. Medieval narratives recount that Sheba later possessed  ships and lots of purple cloth. It looks like Solomon and the queen came to an agreement, and Sheba was Phoenicianized. It was bound to be, since the narrow strait gave whoever held it  natural monopoly on spice trade. 

As with Hiram and Abdemon, the Queen of Sheba poses “riddles” to Solomon ( 1 KING 10:1),  called chidah (חידה). Wikipedia  claims that’s an Aramaic loanword,  but it’s the same word as Samson’s riddle. Again, none of the riddles is given as an example. I’d say it’s not a loanword, but what they call their puns. And they don’t list any examples, because they’d give away their pun camouflage. Come to think of it, this infatuation with puns and riddles might be why the modern spooks have a grudging respect for a certain Texan/Taoseno truther, who usually solves all their riddles in no time. 

Punny Merchant Cities 
Some of the merchant cities that are related to Solomon’s trading in the story contain even more puns and secrets of their own. Let’s go explore some of them. The ancient port at the Gulf of Aqaba, from which the Israeli-Phoenician expeditions to Ophir start is called  Ezion-Geber (גבר עציון), located near Eilat or part of it. Wikipedia touts a translation as  “city of the rooster” GBR means rooster, true, but only because the rooster is male. The GBR root originally means man, hero, warrior or strength, as in Gabri-el. And if you drop the Ayin from Ezion, you get the exact spelling for Zion (ציון). The port’s name could be something like “Heroes of Zion”, since fleets like that of Solomon regularly sailed from there into little-known territory. 

Why is that word mistranslated, and possibly prefixed with that Ayin on purpose? Even if I’m wrong, why is this not discussed as a possibility? I think it might be because the name Zion has become a taboo, though it shouldn’t be. We will soon see why. 

The Cities of Palms 
As a preparation for Part IV, we need to analyze one more word in depth, because it has become the Greek word “Phoenicia”, and used for lots of punny symbolism. Before setting up the Ophir expeditions, Solomon had conquered and rebuilt several cities  ( 1 KING 9:17, 2 CHRON 8:3), explained as storage and chariot garrisons ( 1 KINGS 9:19, 2 CHRON 8:6), but they also all lie on trade routes to the Mediterranean or into neighboring regions: Gezer and Beth-Horon between Jerusalem and coastal Jaffa (Tel-Aviv), and Tadmor on the King’s Highway which connects Egypt to Mesopotamia and joins the routes from Phoenicia. A trade empire is being built. 

Let’s look closer at the city Tadmor, because we’re in for some punning around. It’s Tadmor in Chronicles, but the city was originally written Tamar in Kings, which has been Qere-Ketiv’ed into Tadmor  ( 1 KING 9:18). Why don’t they like the name Tamar? The city’s Latin name was Palmyra, derived from palm trees. The Semitic name  Tadmor is thus also linked to the Semitic term for palm, tamar (תמר).In the Bible the city is literally called Tamar, palm. Is there anything wrong with palms? Not with the trees, but the very same word tamar also means  post, and the curious word tamrur (תמרור) means sign post or guiding post. One translation is missing: trading post. Why? First, because another vowelization of TMR literally means trade: temurah (תמורה). Likely not related, but punny nonetheless. Second, because the palm tree has in Greek become a term for a special group of traders: the Phoenicians! The Greek word phoinix (φοῖνιξ) stands for a bird, the color purple, date palms, and the Phoenicians! Officially it’s because the Phoenicians traded wood, but it could also be trade posts at oases, or simply a pun. Look how Greek Wiki calls the City of Palms: Phoinikia Poly (φοινίκια πόλη), a Phoenician polis, hehe! 

In the Greek Septuagint you could read every occurrence of palms as Phoenicians or traders. Take for example Jericho, another ancient merchant city which traded extensively with Syria, Anatolia and Egypt, as  evidenced by excavations It’s called “Poly Phoinikon” in the Septuagint: 

and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees [or: of merchants], as far as Zoar . DEUT 34:3 καὶ τὴν ἔρημον καὶ τὰ περίχωρα Ιεριχω, πόλιν φοινίκων, ἕως Σηγωρ.  DEUT 34:3 ואת־הנגב ואת־הככר בקעת ירחו עיר התמרים עד־צער 

But this seems to be a general pun. There is even a verse which is toying with the fact that the Phoenicians were famous for selling cedar wood from Mount Lebanon. 

The righteous will flourish like a palm-tree [or: a Phoenician], and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  PSALM 92:12 δίκαιος ὡς φοῖνιξ ἀνθήσει, ὡσεὶ κέδρος ἡ ἐν τῷ Λιβάνῳ πληθυνθήσεται. PSALM 92:12 צדיק כתמר יפרח כארז בלבנון ישגה 

We will see in Part IV that Phoenician cities put palms on their coins, and that especially Palmyra’s aristocracy had a Phoenician flavor to them. Even Carthaginians put palms on their votive steles:

Do the financiers still identify with the palm theme? Sure they do: TMR-names are widespread: Take Brazil’s unelected spook-president Temer, who is  steeped in corruption, but still allowed to replace the impeached elected president, receives  knighthood and awards of honor from the global aristocracy, works for the CIA, and is member of a  Lebanese family from Phoenician Tripoli. 
[Miles: this also reminds us of Beverly Hills, doesn't it, where palm trees almost define the place. Not a coincidence, as you now see. It is also worth mentioning that Palmyra's history goes back to Neolithic times. That is, about 4500 BC or before, possibly taking the Phoenicians—and therefore the Jews—back that far. Also worth knowing that the other name for Palmyra, which Gerry just showed you was Tamar, was also the name of one of King David's daughters. So he might as well have named her Phoenicia. She was famously raped by her brother Amnon, who was then murdered by Absalom, which may be code for something else. Also, mainstream history takes the Phoenicians back to Dilmon in Arabia, and Dilmon is also written as Telmun. It also dates back before 3000 BC, and it controlled the trading routes in the area. We aren't told what Telmun means, but it may be related somehow to Tadmor/Tamar. The Sumerians regarded Telmun as a sacred place, and the Garden of Eden story may derive from that. In the Saga of Enki, Telmun is a place where people don't grow old and there is no pain or disease.]

3b to start with 
The Many Cities Tarshish

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