Let’s bring our timeline of history into focus: The Bible tells us that Abraham arrived in Canaan 430 years before the Exodus. With the Exodus at 1446 B.C., that puts Abraham in Canaan in 1876 B.C., just as the fog over the political situation in Mesopotamia lifted with Amorites in control.
So let’s review:
- Amorite kingdom of Babylon founded — 1894 B.C.
- Abraham arrives in Canaan — 1876 B.C.
- Isaac born to Sarah — 1851 B.C.
- Isaac marries Rebekah — 1811 B.C.
- Hammurabi crowned king of Babylon at Eridu — 1792 B.C.
- Jacob and Esau born — 1791 B.C.
- Abraham dies — 1776 B.C.
- Hyksos take over Lower Egypt — c. 1750 B.C.
- Jacob arrives in Egypt — 1661 B.C.
- Ahmose drives Hyksos out of Egypt — c. 1550 B.C.
- Moses leads the Exodus — 1446 B.C.
- Joshua leads the Conquest — 1406 B.C.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the Amorite domination of Mesopotamia began just as God called Abraham and directed him to Canaan? And that Babylon reached the peak of its power with the ascension of Hammurabi the Great just about the time Jacob and Esau were born?
At the same time, a Semitic-speaking, Ba`al-worshiping state emerged to take control of northern Egypt just before the arrival of the house of Jacob. Wouldn’t it be, you know, coincidental if the Hyksos rulers of Lower Egypt were Amorites, too?
Well, yes, it would—if we believed in coincidences. And as it happens, scholars do, in fact, believe the Hyksos were Amorites.
The best-known of the Hyksos kings, Khyan, is attested from inscriptions found as far from Egypt as Cyprus and modern-day Baghdad (probably originally in Babylon). An Amorite king with the same name, spelled Hayanu, is listed in a genealogy as a distant ancestor of Šamši-Adad and the royal house of the old Assyrian kingdom.
Scholars have also noticed strong similarities in the burial practices of the Hyksos and various Amorite kingdoms, especially the practice of sacrificing donkeys for burial with important people and under the doorways of new buildings.
So yes, it’s strangely coincidental, if you’re a believer in coincidence theories. Otherwise, it seems an unseen hand or hands moved the Amorites into position in Egypt and Canaan just before the Israelites arrived—almost as if they’d been placed there to wait for God’s chosen people.
It’s also noteworthy that while the Anakim were confirmed in Canaan by extrabiblical sources from Egypt, the Anakim haven’t been found anywhere else in the ancient Near East.
But you know by now we’re not coincidence theorists. Let’s pull these historical threads a little harder. Why did God link the timing of Israel’s return to the iniquity of the Amorites?
We’ve established that the Amorites founded Babylon. This is documented mainstream history, unquestioned by secular scholars. The Amorites are also linked by historic records to a tribe called the Tidnum/Tidanum which seemed to have a strong military reputation, troublesome enough that the last Sumerian kings of Mesopotamia built a very long wall in a futile attempt to keep them away. That is also solidly documented mainstream history.
The Bible links the Amorites to the Anakim (Deut. 2:10-25). The Transjordan campaign was aimed at two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, who were both remembered as giants. Remember that the Amorite king Og was called the last of the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 3:11). Texts found throughout Mesopotamia identify the Tidnum/Tidanum as a tribe of the Amorites. In Ugarit, the spelling is usually Ditanu or Didanu. And those texts are usually in the context of venerated dead ancestors, especially the honored royal dead.
The city-state of Ugarit, usually described as Canaanite by Bible teachers, was more accurately an Amorite kingdom. The tablets found by archaeologists there have provided a wealth of knowledge about ancient Hebrew and the history of the period around the time of the Exodus. And some of the connections between secular history, the Bible, and the supernatural realm are absolutely fascinating.
For example, a funerary text identified as KTU 1.161, or RS 34.126 (designations that identify the tablet in question), plainly connects the Amorite tribe of Didanu (Ditanu/Tidnum/Tidanum) with the biblical Rephaim—in a ritual to summon them from the dead!
“Sacrifice of the Shades” liturgy:
You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth,
You are invoked, O council of the Didanu!
Ulkn, the Raphi’, is summoned,
Trmn, the Raphi’, is summoned,
Sdn-w-rdn is summoned,
Ṯr ‘llmn is summoned,
the Rephaim of old are summoned!
You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth,
You are invoked, O council of the Didanu!1
Yeah, I know! What?!
Scholars who look at this text from a secular perspective tend to view it as an academic curiosity, a window into the psychology of people who lived 3,500 years ago. But as Christians, filtering this through the lens of truth, we get a whole different picture.
In this ritual, the Rephaim, which included a council of the Didanu, were invoked to accompany the recently deceased king of Ugarit, Niqmaddu III, to the underworld. They were also there to bless the new king, Ammurapi III, who—although he probably didn’t know it—was the last king of Ugarit. His kingdom was about to be overrun by the so-called Sea Peoples sometime around 1200 B.C.
The Rephaim and the council of the Didanu were apparently summoned to impart to the king the power to overcome death, and to make the living king one of the rpum—the Rephaim. Assuming this ritual wasn’t an invention for Ammurapi, and evidence from Babylon suggests it wasn’t, it appears that the coronation rites of the Amorite kings of Ugarit (and maybe other Amorite kingdoms) summoned the king’s dead ancestors, who they identified as the Rephaim.
Imagine a ritual like that in front of the White House on Inauguration Day!
Now, buckle up, because we’re going to work through some challenging stuff in the rest of this chapter. Most of what follows comes from a paper published in 1999 by scholar Amar Annus of the University of Tartu, Estonia,2 whose research into the Mesopotamian origins for some of the weirder themes in the Old Testament, like the Watchers and their sin, is truly groundbreaking.
For starters, Annus concluded that the West Semitic root for the word Rephaim, mrp’, appears to be the origin of the Greek word merops. The word can have a similar meaning in both languages, “healer” or “healing.”
Kos, an island in the southeast Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, was formerly called Meropis, after one Merops, the mythical first king of the island. Merops was thought to be an autochthon, an original inhabitant of the land, one who sprang from the rocks and trees as opposed to a foreigner who settled in it. His people, then, were the Meropes. The key point is that Merops, Meropis, and the Meropes all derive from the Semitic root mrp’.
We also find that root as the basis of the phrase meropes anthropoi. That phrase was used by the Greek poet Hesiod in his famous poem Works and Days to describe the men who lived in a long-ago Golden Age.
First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.
Hesiod, Works and Days
Who were these meropes anthropoi? Homer named a few of them in Odysseus: Theseus, who killed the Minotaur on Crete; Aegeus, the mythical founder of Athens; Polyphemus, the cannibalistic giant son of Poseidon, one of the Cyclopes; Caneus, a nigh invulnerable warrior, transformed from a woman into a man by Poseidon; Dryas, leader of a tribe that fought a long war with the Centaurs; and so on.
Significantly, Hesiod mentions that the meropes anthropoi became, upon death, daimones, although he viewed them more favorably than Jews and Christians do demons:
But after earth had covered this generation — they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth…
Hesiod, Works and Days, emphasis added
The Book of Enoch offers a slightly different explanation for the origin of demons:
And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.
1 Enoch 15:8-12 (R.H. Charles translation), emphasis added
Thus, between Hesiod and Enoch we can connect the meropes anthropoi, the men of the Golden Age, to the Nephilim, children of the fallen Watchers. Both lived during a pre-flood age, and both, upon death, became wandering spirits called demons. It’s just that the Greek view of daimones was more favorable than the Jewish (or Mesopotamian, for that matter) understanding of demons.
Needless to say, that’s another PSYOP by the Enemy.
Kronos, Saturn to the Romans, was king of a race of gods called the Titans, who reigned supreme after Kronos deposed his father, Uranus (with extreme prejudice—Kronos castrated him with a scythe). The golden race of men created by the Titans was the only one that lived during the reign of Kronos. Told that he would be deposed in turn by his children, Kronos tried to preserve his kingship by eating his kids as soon as they were born. Zeus was spared that fate by his mother, Rhea, who gave Kronos—obviously not a picky eater—a boulder wrapped in a blanket instead. When Zeus was grown, he freed his siblings and led a war to depose the old tyrant. The Titans were defeated and imprisoned in Tartarus.
So through the link between the Semitic root mrp’ and the Greek word meropes, we have a connection between the Nephilim and the heroic men of the Golden Age of Kronos, the meropes anthropoi, “the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
Now, back to the Bible: Og, last “of the remnant of the Rephaim”, ruled the land of Bashan, a territory that included Mount Hermon, the place where the rebellious Watchers descended. In Deuteronomy 1:3, Joshua 12:4-5, and Joshua 13:12, we’re told specifically that Og “lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon.” Edrei was the site of the battle between Israel and the forces of Og. And one of the Ugaritic texts, KTU 1.108, confirms the link between Og and the Rephaim as denizens of the netherworld.
May Rapiu, king of eternity, drink wine, may he drink, the powerful and noble god, the one who rules in Athtarat [Ashtaroth], the god who reigns in Edrei, who sings and plays on the lyre…
KTU 1.108, emphasis added
In other words, the Amorites of Ugarit believed that a god named Rapiu, a singular form of the word rpum (Rephaim), ruled exactly the same territory as Og, king of Bashan. And since Rapiu, the king of eternity, was linked to the Rephaim, the honored ancestral dead, Og’s kingdom around Mount Hermon was essentially the gateway to the underworld.
Here’s another interesting data point: In Ugaritic, Bashan, which Ugaritians pronounced with a “th” instead of an “sh”, meant “place of the serpent”—a callback to the divine rebel, the nachash, of Genesis 3. Remember from Isaiah 14, the nachash was cast down to Sheol where the dead kings of the nations reside. Did that happen at Bashan?
Canaanite myth offers another link between Og and the Rephaim: Danel (the Ugaritic equivalent of the Hebrew name Daniel), the hero of a Canaanite myth called The Legend of Aqhat, is described in the story as a mt rpi. According to Amar Annus, mt rpi, which means “man of Rephaim”, is a linguistic match for meropes anthropoi. That specifically links the golden race men from the age of Kronos—i.e., the Nephilim—to the Rephaim, and thus to the council of the Didanu.
But get this: Danel is also called mt hrnmy, which means “man of Hermon.”
Yeah. That Hermon.
So now we can link the biblical Rephaim, the mythical meropes anthropoi of the Golden Age of Kronos, the Nephilim, the Watchers of Genesis 6, and the mysterious council of the Didanu—which, remember, was probably the name of an ancient tribe of Amorites claimed as the ancestors of the kings of Ugarit, Assyria, and Babylon.
This is a good time to point out that the ill-fated Ammurapi III of Ugarit mentioned above shared a name with the most famous king of the old Babylonian empire, Hammurabi. Scholars typically translate their names, ammu rapi, as “my kinsman is a healer.” This draws on the possible meaning “healer” of the Semitic root rpi.
Although this author is not a scholar of ancient Semitic languages, in the context of what we’ve just read, a more accurate rendering of Ammurapi/Hammurabi might be “my kinsman is a Raphi’“—one of the Rephaim.
Since you’re perceptive, you’ve probably already figured out where this is leading. But to put this on the record, we will now lay this out in black and white: The name of an ancestor of several Amorite royal houses, Dedan, whose descendants were called the Didanu, Tidanum, and variations thereof, is the name from which the Greeks derived the word titanes—from which we get the name of the Titans.
Dedan is a name attested in the Bible. Dedan and Sheba are locations in western Arabia mentioned several times by the prophet Ezekiel (about which more later). It’s also the name of one of the leaders of Korah’s rebellion against Moses, Dathan (see Numbers 16).
One of the nephews of Nimrod was named Dedan, maybe not coincidentally. Could his name have been in honor of the Titans, the old gods who descended at Mount Hermon in the dim, distant past? Given the later links between the Amorites and the Rephaim, and the pre-flood knowledge brought back into the world by the Amorite kingdom of Babylon, this speculation isn’t exactly coming out of thin air.
While we’ll never identify for sure the Dedan whose name became synonymous with the old gods, or why the Amorites appear to have carried the belief that they were their heirs, we can document the connection between the Watchers of the Bible and the Titans of Greek myth.
When the Olympians defeated the Titans, Zeus banished them to Tartarus, a place of torment for the wicked as far below Hades as the earth is below heaven. That just happens to be the current address of the Watchers who landed at Mount Hermon.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
2 Peter 2:4 (ESV), emphasis added
The Greek word translated “cast them into hell” is the verb ταρταρόω, tartaroo, which literally means “to thrust down to Tartarus.” This is the only use of that word in the New Testament. Hades, meanwhile, is mentioned nearly a dozen times, including twice by Jesus. That distinguishes Hades from Tartarus, which was apparently reserved as a special place of punishment for angels who sinned. And the only explicit example of angels sinning in the Bible is in Genesis 6:1-4, which is confirmed by the passages in 2 Peter and by Jude, who clearly linked the punishment of the angels to a sexual sin.
Further, the Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew scriptures into Greek two hundred years or so before Jesus’ birth into the text called the Septuagint understood the link between the Rephaim and the pagan gods. In 2 Samuel 5, the scholars translated the site of David’s battle against the Philistines, emeq rapha, as Valley of the Titans.
So. The Titans of the Greek myths were the “angels who did not stay within their own position of authority,” the Watchers of Genesis 6. They are bound in Tartarus, kept “in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.” Their children, the Nephilim, whose spirits are the demons that plague the earth to this day, were the shades of Sheol, the Rephaim, who were summoned in rituals by Amorite kings who believed they were their honored dead ancestors.
Does the phrase “the iniquity of the Amorites” begin to make more sense?
1 Suriano, Matthew J. “Dynasty Building at Ugarit: The Ritual and Political Context of KTU 1.161,” Aula Orientalis 27 (2009), p. 107.
2 Annus, Amar. “Are There Greek Rephaim? On the Etymology of Greek Meropes and Titanes,” Ugarit-Forschungen 31 (1999), pp. 13-30.