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In Search of the Historical Adam: Part2
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From PSCF 46 (March 1994): 47.
In this article, the second in a series of two, the culture that surrounded the early Adamites in Southern Mesopotamia starting about 5000 to 4000 BC is examined. Early cuneiform writings and inscriptions speak about an historical figure that could have been Adam of Genesis. The Sumerian king lists of early pre-flood rulers begin with "Alulim," the probable equivalent of Adam. Eridu, the oldest city in Southern Mesopotamia, dating to about 4800 BC, is the most likely place to have been Eden, the original home for Adam and his kin. Even the word "Eden" apparently was derived from the Sumerian "edin," meaning "plain," "prairie," or "desert." "Enoch," the city Cain built in the pre-flood period corresponds with "E-anna(k)," a Sumerian and Semite post-flood site. Thus the early passages of Genesis are seen as factually relevant, and an integral part of secular pre-history.
Cuneiform inscribed clay tablets discovered in Mesopotamian excavations have given archaeologists a picture of a civilization almost totally unknown only one hundred years ago.1 These have given us valuable insights into the history, religion, and racial diversity in the region. And some of these tablets contain references that may appear to pertain to Adam of the Bible.
The Legend of Adapa Related to Adam
Several fragments of the "Legend of Adapa" were taken from the Library of Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC) at Ninevah. One was also found in the Egyptian archives of Amenophis III and IV of the fourteenth century BC.2
The first people largely recognized as Semites (or Adamites)3 were the Accadians, dating to possibly as early as 4000 BC. The early Accadians had a triune God. From the beginning, the Accadian "trinity" consisted of El, the father god; Ea, god of the earth and creator of man; and Enlil, the god of the air. Also dating to about 4000 BC, the polytheistic Sumerians were distinct from the Semitic Accadians and spoke an unrelated language.
As contact developed between these two cultures, things began to rub off. The Accadian father-god El was corrupted to "Anu" under pressure from the Sumerian "An." Enlil moved into second place, and Ea, known by the Sumerians as Enki, dropped to third.4
According to Accadian legend, Adapa was created an exemplary man by Ea, endowed with "superhuman wisdom,"5 but not eternal life. A fishing accident angered Adapa, who broke the wing of the south wind, and was summoned to heaven to appear before the god Anu. Adapa was warned by his father, Ea, not to eat a certain food or drink any water that would be offered to him. A cautious Adapa shuned the food and water of life, through which he would have acquired eternal life.6
A fragment of one record of the Adapa legend inscribed in Amorite rests in the Pierpont Morgan Library. This is part of the translation:
In those days, in those years, the sage, the man of Eridu,
Ea, made him like a (riddi) among men;
A sage, whose command no one could oppose;
The mighty one, the Atra-hasis of the Anunaki, is he;
Blameless, clean of hands, anointer, observer of laws.
With the bakers, he does the baking;
With the bakers of Eridu, he does the baking.7
Adam of the Bible and Adapa of Amorite legend were both human sons of God, or a god. According to the legend, Adapa was a sage in Eridu.
Could it be only coincidental that Adam was told "by the sweat of his face" he would eat "bread," and Adapa was a baker by trade; or that Adapa was deprived of eternal life by not eating or drinking the "food or water of life" while Adam was cut off from eating the fruit of the "tree of life"?
Adapa was regarded as a prophet or seer, and had been priest of the temple of Ea at Eridu. Adapa is also is described as "blameless," "clean of hands," "anointer and observer of laws." Could that be descriptive of Adam, the first type of Christ? Also, Adam was taken from the ground; in the Hebrew: 'adam from 'adamah. How close phonetically is 'adamah to Adapa?
Did Adam's Fall have an effect on later generations? These two lines are part of one Adapa fragment:
... what ill he has brought upon mankind,
[And] the disease that he brought upon the bodies of men...8
This Jewish tradition of the Fall is also reflected in the fourth (second) book of Esdras (7.118):
O Adam, what have you done
For though it was you who sinned,
the fall was not yours alone,
but ours also who are your descendants.9
Westermann concludes that in this text Adam is not understood as a "representative of mankind created by God, but as an historical individual whose `Fall' was passed on through him to his descendants."10
Eridu, the Home of Adapa
In 1940-41, the Iraqi government undertook the excavation of Eridu, home of Adapa.
Here at last it was possible to trace a full and uninterrupted sequence of occupations back through the whole duration of the Al 'Ubaid period to an earliest settlement with some features so distinctive that doubts arose as to whether the name Al 'Ubaid could still appropriately be applied to it.11
Some of the pottery found at the lowest of nineteen levels of occupation was so distinctive that the excavators called it "Eridu ware." It was described as an "extremely fine quality monochrome-painted ware, often with a buff or cream slip."12 There was also at the lowest level a high percentage of coarse green pottery typical of Ubaid ceramics. Remember, the Ubaidans, dating to between 4500 BC to 3500 BC, were precursors to the Sumerians. Enough similarities were noted between the coarse Ubaid pottery at Eridu with that of the earlier Hassuna and Samarra cultures to denote that at least some of those early settlers had been migrants from the north.
If the two different pottery styles found at the lowest level of the site are indicative of two separate cultures living side by side, one Adamite the other Ubaid, then these pottery shards are of some importance. Quite possibly some of these remnants are from early Adamite populations.
Whatever culture was responsible for Eridu ware, Adamite or otherwise, it was evidently supplanted by Ubaid culture, because only Ubaid pottery could be found at higher levels. And just as the pottery disappeared, so perhaps, did the Adamites, by moving north, probably to Erech, also called by its Sumerian equivalent, "Uruk."
Is Eridu Synonymous with Eden?
It was pointed out in the first part of this article (Part 1, December 1993 Perspectives, pp. 241-251) that the Bible implies irrigation for Adam's garden, probably via canal from Eden (Gen. 2:8,10). In 1948-1949, Fuad Safer examined several mounds just outside of Eridu, and reported:
The mounds were found to lie on the banks of the bed of a wide canal which, in ancient times, was undoubtedly connected with the River Euphrates. The recognition of this canal and the tracing of its course are now extremely difficult, as it has been filled with sand and soil drifted in from the surrounding plain. The course of the canal crosses the flat depression of Eridu from north-west to south-east and its nearest point to Eridu is about 3 kilometers from the south-west of that site.
In other words, a branch canal from the main canal west of the city to water a garden located east of the city would have flowed through that city, exactly as stated in Genesis 2:8,10.
The Sumerian word, "edin" means "plain," "prairie," or "desert."14 "Eden" probably was derived from this Sumerian word. Eridu is the earliest known settlement in Southern Mesopotamia, at about 4800 BC.15 The Sumerians also regarded Eridu as a sacred city. Could Eridu be synonymous with Eden? The time and place are an excellent fit.
Eridu is identified as the home of Adapa. However, he is also called "the Erechian."16 This, coupled with the disappearance of Eridu ware, may indicate a relocation from Eridu to Erech (Uruk). Eridu is older by some 600 years than Erech, which has been dated to around 4200 BC. Adapa's reason for moving 50 miles north may have been that Eridu was sacked. According to the Sumerian king list, the kingship was overthrown and a new king came to power at Badtabira.
Uruk was first settled around 4200 B. C. by the Ubaid people, and at the lower levels it seems to be a characteristically Ubaid site. But beginning around 3500 B. C. , there is evidence of major changes which some archaeologists believe were characteristic of a new culture and others believe represented an indigenous evolution of the "Ubaidans."17
Erech was clearly established in the pre-flood period according to Sumerian accounts, and re-established after the flood. Erech and the city of Ubaid were located only 30 miles apart, and were contemporary cities situated about 140 miles southeast of Babylon.18
In addition to the Bible, possible variations of the name Adam appear elsewhere. On a Sumerian list of ten pre-flood kings ending in Ziusudra (the Sumerian Noah), first on the list is a king named "Alulim."
When the kingship was lowered from heaven
the kingship was in Eridu.
In Eridu Alulim became king...19
Adapa (created by the god Ea) and Alulim (king by heavenly decree) are both placed at Eridu. If Eridu is Eden, then Adapa, Alulim, and Adam could all be the same man. Conversely, if Adapa, Alulim, and Adam are the same person, Eridu should be Eden, since the Sumerian, Accadian, and Assyrian texts place him at Eridu.
A clay tablet was recovered in excavations at Khorsabad in 1933-34. It contains a list of Assyrian kings beginning with "seventeen kings who lived in tents"20 " probably nomads. "Tudia" tops the list of kings, followed by "Adamu," probably a namesake of his famous forefather. Farther down the list we find the 38th king, "Puzar-Assur." He was one of many Assyrian kings named in honor of a more immediate forefather, Asshur of Genesis 10:11. This same naming pattern is seen in regards to a descendant of Cain in Genesis 4:22 - Tubal-cain.
Another list of pre-flood kings is attributed to the Babylonian priest, Berossus. He lists "Alorus" first on the list of ten pre-flood kings. According to Berossus, Alorus was "appointed by God as Shepherd of men."
The title, "the Son of God," reserved for Sumerian royalty, is also used for "Adamu."21 This title is identical to that used of Adam in Luke 3:38, where the genealogy of Christ culminates in "Adam, the son of God."
In Egypt, the pyramids of kings Mer-ne-Re and Nefer-ka-Re were inscribed with a dedication dating to about 2400 BC (many centuries before Moses). The text speaks of a first creation and a deified "Atum" who was on a primeval hill arising "out of the waters of chaos." Among those "whom Atum begot," according to the inscription, is one named "Seth."22
Could Alorus, Adapa, Alulim, Adamu, Atum, and Adam be all the same person? Perhaps a better question would be, what rationale could be employed to explain away the commonalities? At least some of these secular references must pertain to the first man in biblical history. If these Egyptian, Sumerian, Accadian, Amorite, and Hebrew variations all refer to one man " the most obvious conclusion " then this not only establishes an historical Adam, a.k.a. Adamu, Atum, etc. , but the time and the place is also confirmed, and in complete harmony with the Genesis text!
It should come as no surprise that Egyptian inscriptions, Sumerian legends, and Amorite epics would be based upon historical persons and events. The Sumerians could have learned about Adamic history from two sources; from their own forefathers, who may have lived side by side with Adamites, and from their Semite neighbors, direct descendants of Adam. Many times the Sumerians were subjects of Semitic kings; the great Sargon, for example, began his reign over the entire region in 2371 BC. Adam and his successors also may have ruled over the Ubaidans, who may have been ancestral to the Sumerians.
The Amorites (Gen. 10:16) were descendants of Canaan, Noah's grandson. They must have passed the history of their forefathers down through their generations just as the Israelites did, but distortions and embellishments resulted from centuries of retelling. There was a special purpose in protecting the accuracy of the creation narrative handed down through the line of promise from Shem to Abraham, and through to Moses. Parallel accounts, similar but contorted, can only increase our confidence in the historical value of the Genesis narrative.
If Cain's wife did not come from Adam's line (a question we examined in Part 1), then she must have resided in a nearby settlement of people, probably Ubaidan, whom Cain had originally feared, and for whom Cain was given his mark.
And Cain knew his wife and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17)
Perhaps partly because Cain was long lived, he was recognized as a special or unique person, as evidenced by his overseeing the building of a city. A city would have been quite inappropriate for only three people, but a city might have been necessary to accommodate a growing community that included his wife's relatives.
Naming the city "Enoch" may seem like Bible trivia, but it is not without significance. According to the Sumerians, kingship resumed at Kish after the flood. Twenty-three kings ruled there until, "Kish was smitten with weapons; its kingship to E-Anna(k) was carried."23 In The Makers of Civilization, Waddell translated E-Anna(k) directly as "Enoch," reckoning it as the Sumerian equivalent for Enoch, the city Cain built.24
Although the flood erased the early inhabitants, the Sumerians re-established Enoch and other pre-flood cities. It was here Mes-kiag-gasher became high priest and king and reigned 324 years.25 His son, Enmerkar, built or continued building Uruk, the biblical Erech, part of Nimrod's kingdom (Gen. 10:10).
E-Anna(k), "the House of Heaven," is the oldest preserved temple at Uruk, and was supposedly the dwelling place of the goddess Inanna, the Accadian "Ishtar."26
If at the destruction of Eridu, Adam and his kin journeyed to Erech, then this placed the children of Seth at Erech as near to the Cainites at the city of Enoch as Brooklyn is to the Bronx. Driver took note of the remarkable similarity of the names in both lines of descent.27 Compare Sethites: Enosh, Mahalalel, Methuselah, and Lamech with Cainites: Enoch, Mehujael, Methushael, and Lamech. The similarities in names are understandable if they lived in close proximity.
E-Anna(k), now called "Eanna" by archaeologists, has been excavated. A deep sounding was made in the Eanna precinct at Warka in 1931-32. The pottery was identified as Ubaid from level eighteen up to level fourteen. It transitioned to the Uruk period by level ten. Woolley's analysis was that the pottery from the earliest period he found at Ur (which he called "Al 'Ubaid I") was unrepresented at Warka,28 demonstrating that both Ur and Eridu were established before E-Anna(k). And, of course, Adam's Eden would have been older than Enoch, the city Cain built.
The important point is that some of the details omitted from the biblical text are filled in by the Sumerians, confirming not only the existence of the cities of Enoch and Erech, but also pinning down the time and the location.
Pre-Flood Cities Are Also Post-Flood Cities
It is especially noteworthy when we find a city such as Enoch, which the Sumerians clearly identified as existing after the flood, and which the Bible also ties to the pre-flood period. For one thing, it indicates the limited scope and breadth of the flood itself. Conversely, Erech, mentioned by the Bible in the post-flood period, has been excavated to reveal a culture dating to 4200 BC, over a thousand years before the flood. Likewise, Ur, the home of Abraham's youth, had pre-flood beginnings, and was contemporary with Eridu. Furthermore, Asshur built Nineveh after the flood (Gen. 10:11) on an existing city that dates to the pre-flood era, and had been called "Ninua" before the Semites arrived.29
This illustrates that at least four biblical cities that began before the flood were resettled by Sumerians and Semites after the flood. Thus we have confirmation that the entirety of Genesis 2-11 is confined to the Mesopotamian environs, both the pre-flood and the post-flood periods; and that none of the human history contained in the Bible predates 5000 BC.
Sumerian king lists also demonstrate the longevity of their sovereigns. In the pre-flood period, they reigned for legendary thousands of years.30After the flood, kings reigned for hundreds of years tapering off to mere mortal proportions in later periods.31 The trend jibes with the records in Genesis.
Although the tablets are recorded in Sumerian, some of these kings bear Semetic (Adamic) names. Cain is the only explicit pre-flood example given by the Bible, but he fits the motif of long-lived, non-Sumerian rulers who reigned over Ubaidan and Sumerian subjects. Nimrod and Asshur are biblical post-flood examples.
Of Patriarchs and Kings
When the Sumerian king lists began to surface, there was a rush to show that these were the source of the biblical patriarchs in Genesis 5. The close companion to the Sumerian versions, the Berossus list, was analyized by the Assyriologist Zimmern, who concluded:
It can hardly be doubted that the Biblical tradition of Gen. 5 (P) concerning the antediluvian patriarchs is basically identical with the Babylonian tradition about ten antediluvian primeval kings.32
At the other extreme, G. F. Hasel made a comparative study and found, "a complete lack of agreement and relationship"33 between Genesis 5 and 11 and the Sumerian kings. As is often the case, the truth may be found somewhere in between. The patriarchs and kings cannot be "basically identical" for reasons we shall see. On the other hand, there is sufficient agreement between the Sumerian kings and the Genesis 5 patriarchs that to say there is "a complete lack of agreement" is equally erroneous
Deriving a Revised King List
In order to use just one list of kings for comparison purposes, we will revise the king list known as W-B 62 in four steps, taking into account another primary list (W-B 444), and five other lists of pre-flood kings (not shown). Table 1 (below) shows the results.
Step 1. Misplacing names was a common scribal error. Using the other lists as a corrective measure, the fragmented "-kidunnu" is replaced with Enmenluanna, moving him from seventh on the list to third. This squares with WB-444.
Step 2. As a result of step 1, the kings at positions 8 and 9 are moved up one notch to take positions 7 and 8.
Step 3. The fragmented "-alimma" is replaced with Enmengalanna from W-B 444.
Step 4. Suruppak is inserted at position 9 to reflect his status as an intermediate generation. Ubartutu was the reigning king immediately preceding Ziusudra, but Ubartutu was Ziusudra's grandfather, according to Sumerian texts. Ziusudra's father was Suruppak.34
With these four corrective measures, we have a revised king list.
Table 2 is a "spreadsheet" of the pre-flood patriarchs, the revised list of pre-flood kings with the cities in which they reigned, the Berossus list, and two other king lists (for comparison purposes).
One transposition has been performed on the Berossus list. Both Amempsinos and Ensibzianna are identified as king of Larak. Since Larak was "clearly the third city" according to Langdon,35 this suggests the Berossus list has Amempsinos out of order with Edoranchus.
Let us start with some preliminary observations. First, the genealogies in Genesis are just that: the early fathers of the Semites. The Sumerian king lists represent Semite (Adamite) and Sumerian kings, although there is some disagreement among experts as to which is which. At any rate, as the king lists represent rulers, no purely ancestral relationships are implied, even though royal offspring often ascend the throne.
Second, the thousands of years the pre-flood kings reigned looks to be an error in interpretation rather than a recording error. This can be deduced from the post-flood kings at Kish. After "the flood swept thereover," and the kingship was restored, 23 kings reigned a total of 24,510 years - plus, if you can believe it, 3 months and 3 1/2 days! (Archbishop Ussher36 must have had a Sumerologist counterpart.)
Using the archaeological date of 2900 BC for the flood, that would mean the kings of Kish are still ruling today, and have another 19,000 years to go! Where is the error? The years the post-flood Sumerian kings reigned appear to be off by a factor of about 60. The Sumerians used a sexagesimal system of numbers, and that offers a clue as to how astronomical figures may be brought into the realm of believability. Dividing by 60 puts the total years reigned at Kish at a little over 400, a reasonable figure. It can get more complex than that (they may have relied on moon phases rather than sun cycles, etc.), but it's not something we need to dwell on here.
To assert that the Bible genealogies are unrelated to the Sumerian kings because of a discrepancy in the hundreds of years of life for the patriarchs, versus the thousands of years reigned for the pre-flood kings, misrepresents the case. It should not be surprising that Sumerologists have been every bit as prone to error as Bible translators, and similarly reluctant to make corrections.37
Third, confusion can arise when more than one name pertains to a single individual. Among the difficulties is that titles or occupations have been used at times, rather than proper names, and will look dissimilar, especially when recorded in different languages. There are many instances where the Bible itself uses more than one name for one person, for example: Abram = Abraham, Jacob = Israel, Saul = Paul, Peter = Simon = Cephas, and even: Jesus = Emmanuel (corresponding, perhaps, to the Accadian "Ea").
Fourth, Adam is a virtual shoo-in as Alulim at Eridu. Seth, or conceivably Enosh, could be the second king, Alalgar. But the fourth patriarch, Cainan, does not and should not appear on the king lists. Eridu was overthrown. Kingship passed to the victorious city - a Sumerian city - Badtabira. A Sumerian city at that early date was probably devoid of foreigners speaking strange languages. The three kings of Badtabira should not be in the Adamic line.
So a dissimilarity is what we should expect concerning those three kings, and that is the case. Also, no connection can be seen between any of the kings and Jared, or with Mahalalel outside of Berossus. This sets apart at least three or four out of the ten patriarchs as absent from the Sumerian king lists, and that is about as far as dissimilarity can be extended.
Finally, there are complicating factors. The genealogies are in Hebrew, while the king lists are in Sumerian, an unrelated language, and Berossus wrote in Greek. Still, these are not insurmountable obstacles. In Table 3 we will see that the list of patriarchs and the lists of kings are not completely independent: there is a relationship.
Line 1. Isn't there as much similarity between Adam and Alulim as there is between Richard and Ricardo? Parallels between the Sumerian Alulim, the Accadian Adapa, and the Hebrew Adam point toward a commonality. Clay proposed that Alorus from the Berossus list was "El-Or" found in early Aramaic inscriptions38 and therefore, a Semitic (Adamic) name. Who would have been the first father or king of the forerunners to the Semites if not Adam? And if Adam, special in many respects, was in residence at Eridu from the start, who better to serve as king?
Line 2. Some scholars make the connection: Alaparos = Adapa = Adam, making Adam the second king. This raises a question. If Adam was the second king, who was the first? It seems equally reasonable to suggest that Seth, or one of Adam's other sons, or even Enosh, could have been this monarch.
Alalgar may have been one of Adam's offspring. There is no way of knowing, but Poebel credits Berossus's Alaparos as the "son of" Alorus.39 Furthermore, if the first king at Eridu was Adam, a non-Sumerian, the next king, if directly related, would also have been non-Sumerian. Keep in mind, the first two names, Alulim and Alalgar, are Semitic (or Adamic), not Sumerian names.
The Semitic (Adamic) name Alalgar is entirely appropriate as applied to the covenant family. Among the meanings offered for Alaparos are "Ox of the god Uru," and "Lamb of El."40 "El," Assyrian for God, (and seen in Hebrew as "Elohim," "El Shadai") was the father god, first in the early Accadian trinity. Thus, the name could be literally rendered "Lamb of God." This description of profound theological sigificance used of Jesus (John 1:29,36) might have been applied to Seth, or even Enosh, when men began "to call upon the name of the Lord" (Gen. 4:26). Seth, one of his brothers, or his son may have been this second pre-flood king.
Line 3. Alalgar's rule was closed out when Eridu was overthrown and kingship passed to the victorious Enmenluanna, king of Badtabira, a Sumerian city. It would be shocking to think that one of Adam's immediate generations (for example, Enosh) would have made war on his own father or grandfather. Also, Enmenluanna is a Sumerian name, making him the first genuine Sumerian on the Sumerian king list. It follows that a non-Adamic ancestry would be implied for this Badtabiran king and his successors.
Considering Adam's longevity (930 years), he and at least some of his kin must have escaped the bloodshed at Eridu. A move north of about 50 miles to Erech, adjacent to Enoch (the city Cain built), would have brought Adam to a location where he and his family could find refuge and safety among family members.
Line 4. From the name Enmengalanna, we might suspect he was son and successor to the throne of Enmenluanna. Adamic ancestry is therefore equally unlikely, and is reflected by a dissimilarity between his name and that of the fourth patriarch, Cainan.
Line 5. Clay allowed, "It seems that Mahalal-El may be represented by Megalaros..."41 A link between Mahalalel and the fifth king on the Berossus list looks credible, but he is probably not the fabled Dumuzi, who corresponds to Daonus, sixth on the Berossus list. Also, Dumuzi and Daonus are identified as "a shepherd" and "the shepherd."42 Dumuzi was consort to Inanna "queen of heaven and earth." W-B 444 offers no additional data on any of its kings with a single exception, declaring Dumuzi "divine," and his vocation as "the shepherd."43 "Tammuz," the Semitic name for Dumuzi,44 was famous in Accadian literature, with a cult following to rival that of Elvis today.
In the Accadian legend, Adapa gained entrance to heaven by flattering Tammuz. "At the gate of Anu," Adapa told Tammuz how much he was missed on earth.45A thirty-eight line liturgical hymn to the departed Tammuz "represents the people wailing for the lord of life who now sleeps in the lower world."46
The prophet Ezekiel had a vision where he was "brought to the door of the gate of the Lord's house," and "there sat women weeping for Tammuz" (Eze. 8:14). Thus the prophet Ezekiel bestowed biblical recognition on the celebrated Dumuzi, the fifth Sumerian king.
Line 6. Demonstrating that kingships were temporary and easily terminated in the land of Sumer, "kingship passed to Larak" when Badtabira was overthrown, and Ensipazianna became king.47 It is doubtful that Jared, sixth in the line of patriarchs, could have been king of Larak, almost assuredly an entirely Sumerian city at that early date.
Line 7. "Sevens" often indicate that something may be unusual or important. Here may be another example. In Clay's words, "This king (Enmenduranna) is generally regarded as the original of the biblical Enoch."48 We might argue what he meant by the word, "original," but commonality seems apparent. Berossus has "Edoranchus," so all of these lists show a commonality.
Enmenduranna is deemed identical with Enmeduranki, sage and king of Sippar.49 Zimmern, who first made the identification, said the name was pronounced "Evvedoranki." "Evved or Eved suggests the Hebrew 'Ebhed," Clay contends.50 If so, this would dictate Adamic ancestry for the king of Sippar who according to Sumerian legend was taken by the gods and taught divine mysteries.51 And, "By faith Enoch was translated (taken up) that he should not see death" (Heb. 11:5).
Another consideration is that Sippar was the cult center of the sun god. The sun completes a cycle every 365 days, which corresponds to Enoch's 365 years.52 If Enoch was the king of Sippar who wrested power from Larak's control, and then was taken by God, a void would have been left in the kingship. Or perhaps someone not of good standing took his place. Either way, "Sippar was overthrown, its kingdom passed to Shuruppak."53
Line 8. The next three men on the revised list lived at Shuruppak until the flood, after which kingship was re-established at Kish. The Sumerian records show a direct line of descent from the king of Shuruppak, Ubartutu, through his son Suruppak to the last pre-flood king, Ziusudra. Ubartutu was Ziusudra's grandfather, while Noah's grandfather was Methuselah. Are Methuselah and Ubartutu one and the same?
W-B 62 ends in Ziusudra, although from W-B 444, only "one king reigned" at Shuruppak.54 This was Ubartutu. If Ubartutu is Methuselah, who died near the time of the flood, this could explain the discrepancies in the two king lists. One list (W-B 62) recognizes Ziusudra, who, if he ruled at all, reigned for less than a year, or at most only a few years before the flood. The other list (W-B 444) gives him no credit for an abbreviated rule at Shuruppak.
Line 9. "With a brilliant name, let me make you famous," Suruppak told his son Ziusudra.55 If Noah and Ziusudra are the same person, then unless he had two fathers, Lamech, the ninth patriarch, should be synonymous with Suruppak. One reason Suruppak never reigned could have been because his father outlived him. And Methuselah outlived Lamech.
Line 10. There is no need to recite the accomplishments of Noah. Legends about him are contained in ancient texts. The names may not look alike, gift-wrapped in different languages, and touching on different facets of the man: "he who laid hold on life of distant days" (Ziusudra); "he saw or found life" (Utnapishtim); "the exceeding wise" (Atrahasis); and "rest or comforter" (Noah).56 But corresponding flood stories using these names, recorded in Sumerian, Accadian, and Assyrian, all parallel the biblical deluge. These remarkably similar accounts would be impossible to attribute to other than one man. Unequivocally, Ziusudra equates to Atrahasis, Xisuthros, Utnapishtim, and Noah.
What Does It All Mean?
After a detailed analysis of Berossus, Delitzsch agreed with Zimmern and concluded:
The ten Babylonian kings who reigned before the Flood have been accepted in the Bible as the ten antediluvian patriarchs, and the agreement is perfect in all details.57
What Delitzsch failed to recognize is that agreement could be expected only in instances where patriarchs were rulers, or conversely, when the kings were also in the covenant line from Adam. Evidently, some of the patriarchs did reign over small kingdoms. Yet, concurrent kingdoms were also established in Southern Mesopotamia ruled by non-biblical monarchs. Clearly, it was the intent of Berossus and the king lists to record a sequence of kings without regard to ancestry, just as it was the Bible's intention to record a certain line of ancestry whether or not they were kings.
In Sumerian, the first two letters "en-" of a ruler's name denotes kingship in a way similar to the way "lord" does in English. The god "Enki" combines "en" for "lord" and "ki" for "earth" to mean literally, "Lord of the Earth." The Sumerian word "lil" can mean "air," "breath," or "spirit."58 Enlil was second in the Sumerian pantheon after the father god, An. The possible interpretations of this name should be obvious. A parallel could exist between this Sumerian and Accadian god and our Holy Spirit.
If we survey the list of pre-flood fathers, in both the line of Seth and the line of Cain we see "En-" as the first two letters more often than any other combination (Enosh once, and Enoch twice). It is quite possible, then, that both Cain's son and Seth's son were rulers over Sumerian subjects. This offers another clue that the seventh patriarch, Enoch, was also a ruler.
One final thought. The Bible submits no data whatsoever on seven of the ten pre-flood patriarchs beyond their age when the first son was born, age at death, and that they had "other sons and daughters." Details beyond that are given for only three: Adam, Enoch, and Noah. And the supplementary biblical information provided for each of them correlates directly to Sumerian and Accadian narratives.
Likewise, in all the Sumerian king lists pertaining to the pre-flood era, additional particulars are given on only one man, "divine Dumuzi, a shepherd." And he is the only Sumerian king, outside of the line of Adam, corroborated in the Bible by his Semitic equivalent, "Tammuz." All coincidence, do you suppose?
Giants in the Earth
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them; that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took wives, of all which they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2)
In light of all we now know this clearly describes the mixing of the Adamite populations with the Ubaidans and Sumerians. Has archeological discovery confirmed the mixing of covenant generations with non-covenant generations? Hawkes says:
Another break in cultural tradition and an acceleration in civic advance began around 4000 BC. Some historians believe that these changes were due to the arrival of the Sumerians on the plain, perhaps again coming from the north. Others do not accept a distinct immigrant group but see the Sumerians as an amalgam of all the prehistoric peoples of the region. The language, however, when it came to be recorded, does suggest a Sumerian tongue overlaying a more primitive one that might well have been that of the Ubaidans. It also contains some Semitic elements and it is likely that Semites were already drifting into the valley from the north.59
"Semites" technically refers to the descendants of Shem, because historians do not universally recognize Adam or Noah. Is it possible, though, that the Sumerian language contained not "Semitic elements," but Adamic or pre-flood Accadian language elements? If so, then the presence of those loan words in the Sumerian language supports Genesis 6:1-3.
We do know that after the flood, Semites spread out and encountered peculiar populations in their path (Gen. 15:20, Deut. 2:10,11, and Josh. 13:12, for example), but 4000 BC is pre-flood history.
There were giants ("Nephilim" in the Hebrew) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)
The term "Nephilim" means no more to us today than does "the land of Nod" or "gopher wood." These are words of antiquity and will always remain obscure. And yet, the term "Nephilim," or "giants," seems to pertain to some kind of men who were different, were of ancient origin, and were well known at the time.
Noah's Wife Is the Key to the Ancestors Question
For those who may wonder how all of us today could be related to a primordial ancestor who lived 100,000 years or so ago, and yet Adam, father to the Semites among others, could have been specially created, the Bible offers clues previously mentioned. Noah is the key to this seeming puzzle - or rather, Noah's wife is.
Genesis 5:23: "Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth." We have no way of knowing how old Noah's wife would have been, but she could have been in her teens at the birth of Shem. The flood took place in Noah's 600th year. His wife was still alive after the flood (Gen. 8:16,18), although there were no more children.
If Noah's wife was short-lived, she would have been past her childbearing years when the flood ended. This is the last passage about her. We do not know when she died, but Noah's drunkenness and lying naked in his tent (Gen. 9:21) might have resulted partly from his despondence after her death.
It is entirely possible that Noah's wife came from the indigenous populations (or she had mixed Cainite ancestry), and died before reaching her 120th birthday, although she could have lived a little longer.
Significant differences stand out between Noah's family life and that of the preceding patriarchs. First of all, starting with Adam, every one of the first nine patriarchs was less than 200 years old when he became a father, whereas Noah did not have children until he was 500 years old! This is too great a difference to be without significance. In all likelihood, Noah married late in life, very late.
All of Noah's predecessors had sons and daughters. Even post-flood patriarchs for seven generations after Noah "begat sons and daughters" (Gen. 11:11-25), but Noah had no other children after the three sons. Noah was unique in parenthood for some reason. The most obvious answer is that Noah's wife must have been unique. Noah married outside the covenant line.
Noah's wife and the wives of Noah's three sons must have had ancient ancestry. Their mitochondrial DNA extends back to ancient "Eve," preserving the links to the distant past.
Adam was specially created, responsible to God, and yet biologically compatible with other human beings who were already living in the region at the time of Adam's introduction. Adam could not possibly have started all the Near East peoples, let alone the human race, due to his late entry. Instead, he was placed in a locale which was already sparsely populated by that time.
Cain entered the world of flesh and took a wife. Sons from Seth's line, including perhaps male descendants from other sons and daughters of Adam, took wives from one or more of the local farming communities, and possibly from the mixed line from Cain. This caused their subsequent generations to be mixed, being both of "spirit" and of "flesh."
The flood destroyed a multitude of men, and, of course, all of Adam's descendants except for Noah and his family. The judgment of the flood was brought down upon the Adamites, those who were accountable for sin. Other unfortunates in the vicinity were swept up in the tide.
Although Noah was a direct descendant of Adam, and "perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9), we are not told from where his wife or his son's wives originated. Someone had to be the source of the narrative of Cain and his line. The most probable source is Noah's wife, or maybe, the wife of Shem. Noah's wife, and the wives of his sons, must have had mixed Cainite ancestry, or simply came from the local populace.
Adamic ancestry accrues to only a small percentage of people scattered around the globe today. Traces of Adam's genes might be found in present-day Arabs, Jews, and their offshoots, and should have been present in early populations such as Amorites, Hittites, Canaanites, and others. But even among modern peoples who might have Adamic blood ties, there is still no escaping ancient history, and with it, ancient ancestry.
Some may claim Adam as a forefather, others may doubt it, and most just don't know. But, because of the intermarriages, even those who feel they can boast of biblical ancestors can also be assured that their roots may reach back 100,000 years or even beyond.
1Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981), xx.
2Albert T. Clay, A Hebrew Deluge Story in Cuneiform (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1922), 39-41.
3"Semite" is the term archeologists and historians use to denote not only descendants of Shem, but also descendants of Japheth, Ham, or any of Adam's line in the pre-flood period (if such a person as Adam ever existed, or if there was such an event as the Flood). Thus, Canaanites spoke a "west semitic" language, notwithstanding Canaan was the son of Ham, according to the Bible. One might think "Hamites" would have communicated in a "hamitic" tongue. But the secular world does not recognized the Bible as being historically accurate. Therefore, "Semites" are universally recognized, but "Adamites," "Hamites," and "Japhethites" are not, shall we say, "politically correct."
4Gwendolyn Leick, A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology (New York: Routledge, 1991), 37.
6Clay, A Hebrew Deluge Story in Cuneiform, 40.
8James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955), 103.
9Claus Westermann, Creation (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), 108.
11Seton Lloyd, "Ur-Al `Ubaid, Uquair and Eridu," Iraq, n. s., 22 (1960), 25.
12John Oates, "Ur and Eridu, The Prehistory," Iraq, n. s. 22 (1960), 33.
13Fuad Safer, Sumer 6 (1950), 28.
14S. R. Driver, The Book of Genesis (London: Methuen & Co, Ltd., 1938), 38.
15C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky and Jeremy A. Sarloff, Ancient Civilizations: The Near East and Mesoamerica (Menlo Park: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc., 1979), 110.
16Clay, A Hebrew Story in Cuneiform, 41.
17Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sarloff, Ancient Civilizations: The Near East and Mesoamerica, 145.
18Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, The MacMillan Bible Atlas (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1977), 20.
19Thorkild Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939), 71.
20Arno Poebel, "The Assyrian King List from Khorsabad," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, (1942) Vol. 1, No. 3, 252.
21L. A. Waddell, The Phoenician Origin of the Britons, Scots, and Anglo-Saxons (London: Williams and Norgate, Ltd., 1924), 239, 253.
22Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3.
23Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List, 85.
24L. A. Waddell, The Makers of Civilization (New Delhi: S. Chand, 1968), 62.
25Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List, 85.
26Samuel Noah Kramer, From the Poetry of Sumer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), 174.
27Driver, The Book of Genesis, 80.
28Lloyd, "Ur-Al `Ubaid, Uquair and Eridu," 24.
29I. E. S. Edwards, C. J. Gadd and N. G. L. Hammond, eds., The Cambridge Ancient History Vol. I, Part 2, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), 730.
31Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List, 77-91.
32H. Zimmern, Urknige und Uroffenbarung (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1902), 539.
33G. F. Hasel, "The Genealogies of Gen 5 and 11 and their Alleged Babylonian Background." Andrews University Seminary Studies, n. s. 16 (Autumn 1978), 361-74.
34Bendt Alster, The Instructions of Suruppak (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1974), 43-49.
35Stephen Langdon, Oxford Edition of Cuneiform Texts, Vol. II (London: Oxford University Press, 1923), 2-3.
36Archbishop Ussher calculated the year of creation at 4004 BC from his analysis of the Genesis chronologies.
37One method of reconciling ages of Sumerian kings is outlined in an article by Hildegard Wiencke-Lotz, "On the Length of Reigns of the Sumerian Kings," Chronology and Catastrophism Review, Journal of the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (vol. XIV, August 1992), 20.
38Albert T. Clay, The Origin of Biblical Traditions (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1923), 131.
39Arno Poebel, Historical Texts (Philadelphia: The University Museum, 1914), 85.
40Clay, The Origin of Biblical Traditions, 132.
42Langdon, Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts, Vol. II, 3.
43George A. Barton, The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929), 347.
44Samuel Noah Kramer, Myths of Enki The Crafty God (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 7.
45Stephen Langdon, Sumerian Liturgical Texts (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1917), 42.
47Barton, The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad, 347.
48Clay, The Origin of Biblical Traditions, 135.
51Alexander Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963), 141.
52Lloyd R. Bailey, Noah: The Person and the Story in History and Tradition (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989), 125.
53Barton, The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad, 347.
54Weincke-Lotz, "On the Length of Reigns of the Sumerian Kings," 22.
55Alster, The Instructions of Suruppak, 43.
56Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels, 227.
57Frederich Delitzsch, Babel and Bible (Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1906), 41.
58Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981) 76.
59Jacquetta Hawkes, The Atlas of Early Man (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976), 63-64.