[b-hebrew] Amalekites!

Michael Banyai Banyai at t-online.de
Fri Aug 13 15:20:00 EDT 2004

Curiously I was not able to recognise in the last couple of postings, how they touched to the subject Amalek. However did Peter Kirk formulated an interesting idea which deserves elaboration:

> I consider it highly probable that a traditional genealogy among the 
> Edomites listed Esau as their original founder and Amalek as his 
> grandson. I also consider it highly probable that such a genealogy is 
> reasonably accurate (although perhaps giving a succession of leaders 
> rather than a strict father-to-son listing), and that said Amalek became 
> the leader of a group which became known as the Amalekites, even if he 
> was not necessarily the biological ancestor of all of them.

I would like to point to the Phoenician cosmogony according to Sanchiunaton as related by Filon of Byblos and Eusebius of Cesarea, mentioning a certain pair of rival has brothers, one of whom being called Usoos (like Esau), a hunter, who has invented fur clothes. This cosmogony seems to be confirmed as genuine by its recognisable Ugarit parallels. There existed thus an independent semitic tradition concerning Esau/Usoos, who was assimilated by the bible writers with Edom.

The way how this story slipped into the Bible may have been the identification of some Edom - a historical brother of a proto-Israelite king (we may call him for conveniency Jacob) - with the eponymous ancestor of the Edomites Esau. 

There exists an Egyptian inscription concerning a certain Abdi-damu (or later Hebrew: Obed-Edom) brother of the "prince" of Retenu, taking part into a mining expedition into the Sinai, just on the wake of the massive (and apparently friendly)immigration of Semites into the Delta under Amenemhat III during the late 12-th dynasty.

Best regards,

Banyai Michael

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