I’ve been following Jordan Peterson’s lectures on the “Psychological Significance of the Old Testament Stories.” He comes at the Bible from essentially a secular view, but rather than dismiss the oldest stories in Genesis as historically inaccurate nonsense, he sees them as astonishing encapsulations of deep human wisdom and truths about the nature of humanity that were preserved in story form before we were able to explicitly articulate them. (A lot of atheists are saying it’s the first time they’ve come across an explanation of religion that seems rational.) Anyway I think he makes some potentially useful contributions to creation theology that I haven’t yet seen discussed here.
His 2-hour lecture on Adam and Eve is here, if you want to sit thought a wandering (yet fascinating and intellectually stimulating) discussion (also available on the Jordan Peterson podcast). But I’ll try to distill his main points about the Fall here - he essentially sees the Fall as the cataclysmic result of humans becoming self-aware of themselves and the world around them.
So what are some of the effects of humans developing consciousness?
Awareness of self, and awareness of others like yourself, means that you know what hurts you and how others can hurt you. Thus, you are vulnerable. Thus, consciousness leads to awareness of nakedness.
Awareness of how others can hurt you also means an awareness of how you can hurt others, even torture them. Thus, consciousness leads to the knowledge of good and evil.
You also become aware that you are mortal and will die - so consciousness also includes an awareness of death
When you are aware that you will die, you want to prevent it. You want to store food so if you can’t find food the next day, you won’t starve, so you work to acquire more food. But you can never know what types of catastrophes might come, and you can never know if you are prepared well enough for them, so you can never truly stop preparing. Thus, the curse of work.
Finally, consciousness developed through an increasing brain size that couldn’t fit through female pelvises, thus consciousness multiplied pain of childbirth.
He goes even further with an anthropological theory (supported by some evidence, though not sure how solid/speculative) that humans co-evolved with snakes and it was the selection for vision algorithms to detect snakes that made larger brains so advantageous, and thus in the story of human evolution, it was literally snakes that opened our eyes and made us conscious, giving us the knowledge of good and evil. And Peterson is quite fascinated that all of this modern knowledge seems to be contained in such an ancient little story.
The alleged connections above seem to strike different folks as anywhere from “that’s quite a stretch” to “woah that’s mind-blowing,” (though my summary in no way does justice to the full lecture). At the very least, they would seem to suggest the development of consciousness as a natural point for the entry of sin into the world, and maybe something to do with what separates humans from animals, made in the image of God - although I haven’t quite worked out what that would mean to be made like that before the Fall and then to approach the Fall itself. The purely psychological/evolutionary approach also leaves out the fundamental theology parts of a genuine and active God revealing himself to humans, giving them commands, and humans disobeying him. Still, I wonder if there’s not something to it somewhere - and I do enjoy how it completely overturns the idea that modern science “disproves” those earliest chapters of the Bible.
As I have mentioned more than once on these boards, while snakes were anciently viewed broadly with anxiety, it was only ancient Persia, the Zoroastrians in particular, that despised snakes!
To them, snake killing was considered a “good deed”. They aligned snakes with the personification of the Universe’s evil forces.
In contrast, prior to contact with the Persian Empire (which was considerable for the Greeks, and especially the Egyptians, who were occupied by the Persians for a few generations), there was a broad respect (rather than merely fear) of snakes:
That’s why there was a serpent on some of the Egyptian royal headgear, and why Greeks might use 2 snakes on a driverless ox cart to “divine” where a new temple should be located - - where the cart stopped, they would begin the
Snakes were a combination of wisdom, fertility, immortality - - as well as danger.
The Hellenic culture assigned the term “Pythoness” to a Priestess of snake cults. This might be considered odd, until you look at the Sumerian culture. They had a snake “psychopomp” deity (Ningishzida) that would conduct humans into the presence of the Gods (parallel to the Greek function of Hermes from the latter half of Homeric writings onward).
I wouldn’t bother to bring it up except for the rather mysterious coincidence we see in the legends of Moses. The Sumerian word for “Python/Priest” (the presumed male counterpart to Pythoness) was “Mus”. It doesn’t take an extraordinary imagination to be drawn to the Semitic pronunciation of Moses: “Moshe”, or spelled simply “MS”, who was a person who carried around a stick he could make into a snake, a snake which could defeat multiple Egyptian “magical snakes”.
Further, our “MS” even installed a snake on a pole that served to protect the people from harm by the totem animal. In fact, the serpent pole was not only installed in the desert, but apparently moved from the desert to Hebron, and eventually to Jerusalem – where eventually a king (Hezekiah) decided to take it down (after some 500 years of use!?), because the people were worshipping it. Perhaps they always had worshipped it. Maybe the Jebusite religion was a snake religion?
I have often wondered why the children of Moses seem to have been excluded from Levitical prominence. But if Moshe was a Canaanite priestly function that was co-opted by the Jewish priesthood, one can understand why they showed how the Old Priest came down on the side of Yahweh… without giving any important priestly stories to his children … because the Old Priesthood had been extinguished.
You’re looking at the wrong etymology for the name Moses. Setting aside the one given in exodus, Mose(s) is an Egyptian name. Common Egyptian names included Thutmose (born of Thut) or Ptahmose (meaning born of Ptah). The word ‘mose/muse’ meant to be born, and the Egyptians would combine this with names of their deities (like Ptah, Thut, Ra(mses)), giving it a polytheistic, Egyptian overtone. Moses (simply meaning born) would dis include the Egyptian polytheism (for obvious Israelite reasons) but retain the Egyptian name as his place of birth and growing up. Moses is an Egyptian name, as noted by a large number of Egyptologists/Old Testament historians.
Naturally, this is the meaning of the word the scribes want us to use. And of course, you take this at face value… you are a good Biblicist.
Similarly, centuries later, the rabbinical schools explained to the Greeks that the etymology for Pharisee: “separated”. Would I be coarse if I were to suggest that this is probably because the rabbis knew too well a much more compelling etymology?
What if, in fact, Pharisee is derived from the common term for “people from Persia” … or “Farsi”? This might seem strange to some. Especially since we have one word that begins with “P” and another word that begins with “F”. But to a linguist this would not be so surprising; it might even make it all the more convincing. Because linguists know that the Persians of Zoroastrian persuasion who emigrated from Persia (probably because of the Arab invasions), and settled in India, are called: the Parsee.
Strong’s Hebrew 6542 for the term “Persian” reads thus
“a Parsite (i.e. Persian)”
Strong’s Greek 5530 for the term “Pharisee” reads:
“Pharisaios”. And Strong even recapitulates the “cover story” of the Pharisees and latter-day rabbis:
“Of Hebrew origin cf פָּרַשׁ (H6567)”: “parash - pä·rash’, . . . to make distinct, declare, distinguish, separate”
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament repeats the same story:
“Pharisees: from an Aramaic word peras (found in Dan 5:28), signifying “to separate,” owing to a different manner of life from that of the general public.”
But if we use our ears, do we think Pharisee sounds more like “Parsee”? Or “Paras” or “Parash”? Why wouldn’t these returning exiles from Persian-based Jewish “shules” be called “Persians”? In America, northerners who visit below the Mason-Dixon line are frequently called “Yankees” … even when they aren’t from New York, or even New Englanders.
The Jewish Bible has a number of stories showing how Jewish “exiles” with a more intellectual bend of the mind became well known for becoming expert in the more intellectual pursuits of the Zoroastrian elite. And in some cases, they surpassed them. One thing we know the Pharisees had in common with the Magi was an inordinate interest in “purity”, “building fences around fences” in order to avoid all violations.
The Sadducees complained that the Pharisees promoted an “Oral Law” that they said was foreign to the Jewish scriptures. Could it be that this “Oral Law” was formulated with the help of Persian inspiration? The Sadducees said that supernatural angels was an invention. Interestingly, it was a unique feature of Zoroastrian theology. The Sadducees said that the written text says nothing about a general resurrection - - where not just a few here or a few there, but everyone should expect a new body at the End of Days. This is also a unique feature of Zoroastrian theology.
The Essenes, notorious for their devotions to the morning sun (as a representation of Yahweh in His most magnificent form), just coincidentally emulate Zoroastrian devotion to the morning sun. And when we read (humorous?) accounts of the Essenes being careful not to offend the sun with their toilet output, we are not told that this is the very same taboo that Zoroastrian magi taught their students!
Just so you don’t think I’m just making up some of this, here’s an online summation for the topic Pharisees:
“A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognised in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. . . . They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels . . . and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him [a resurrection] . . . According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000.”
The Bible is filled with dubious etymologies. Does a good Young Earth Creationist literally believe all those etymologies are divinely derived and correct?
Well, to be honest, the snake/vision thing seemed more speculative to me than some of his other remarks… both empirically and theologically… but I thought it sounded intriguing enough to shop around for critical analysis
Very interesting to read about. Thank you for posting it. I think the first sections about awareness, knowledge and death are fascinating. My first thought about the snake/vision idea is that it sounds like scientific concordism. It seems to be taking modern evolutionary ideas and fitting them into the theme of Genesis, something the authors would not have had in mind. Having recently finished Denis Lamoureux’s course on science and religion, I have that thought on my mind–maybe it isn’t a valid concern here. I think scientific concordism overall leads to a lot of problems. Am I off base here?
I find such approaches to the Genesis stories far better than trying to defend their historicity. Its a bit like the existentialist approach I found many years ago with Paul Tillich. We should see the stories as being about us and what we thinks and do.
Well, I don’t know if this is an overall truth about concordism… but certainly this “parallel evolution with snakes” thing is rather far-fetched. The bulk of any imprinting of snake perceptual warnings on the human genome would have happened deep into the main trunk of mammalian evolution, and/or including pre-human hominid evolution.
The idea that “snakes” are of some special evil or dangerous quality is purely a theological speculation - - and I don’t think it holds up very well.
I did not espouse the biblical etymology for Moses name. This is the biblical etymology you’re talking about;
Exodus 2:10: When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
You’ll notice Moses is called ‘Moses’ (mosheh) because his name correlates to the Hebrew for ‘draw out’ (mashuy), and lo’ and behold, the Bible has explained Moses’ name. My explanation was quite different, as I noted earlier, Moses is not a Hebrew name, it is an Egyptian name (which makes perfect sense, since the exodus and all that happened in Egypt), and his name corresponds to Egyptian ‘mose’, which we know was a common Egyptian word meaning ‘to be born/brought forth’ usually combined with the name of a deity (thutmose -born of the god thut/ptahmose -born of the god ptah/ahmose -born of the god ah, all attested Egyptian names). This is the opinion of the majority of scholars (see here for example, pp. 19-20 https://www.academia.edu/27020413/Egyptian_Religious_Influences_on_the_Early_Hebrews), the Sumerian words have no etymological relationship to the name Moses.
But there’s a second, also impressive reason to favor Egyptian origins for the name Moses rather than Sumerian. It’s not at all troubling to see how words from the Egyptian language would have found their way into Hebrew, since these two nations, for a large amount of time in ancient history, existed alongside each other (and one time Egypt conquered through Israel under Shoshenq in the 10th century BC). Egypt had a powerful influence over its surrounding region and there is a significant number of Egyptian loanwords in biblical Hebrew as it is. However with Sumerian, it becomes much more confusing – how did words from the Sumerian language exactly get into the Hebrew language? Sumerian civilization was wiped out as much as half a millennium before the birth of Israel. Wouldn’t that render the entire scenario you’re adjudicating a little more improbable than my scenario of Egyptian origins, since there almost certainly is zero continuity between Sumerian language and Israelite language given how far apart these civilizations existed in the archaeological and ancient records?
I have no idea whether or not there is veracity to your connection between the ideologies of the Pharisees/Saudacees/Essenes etc with Zoroastrianism. As I understand it, these four groups originated after the Hasmonean (Maccabean) dynasty took control of Israel (early 2nd century BC), whereas Zoroastrianism’s influence over Israel only lasted until Alexander the Great vanquished the Achamenids from Israel (late 4th century BC). If you have a citation I’d be willing to read it as my knowledge regarding the origins of these philosophies isn’t the sharpest, but I’ve begun tending to become skeptical of theories that try to connect Zoroastrianism to NT-related concepts.
You don’t seriously think I did not know what you meant? I grew up loving Charlton Heston, and any repeat watcher of Exodus knows that Moses is supposed to be an Egyptian name.
Funny thing, Sargon, which has an even older story about him being drawn out of the river as an infant… he isn’t named after “draw out”.
As I said in my earlier post, the Jewish Bible is full of etymologies offered to steer their audience in the desired direction.
And so, again, I would ask: are YEC’s required to believe all these etymologies?
You write about the difficulty you have in imagining Sumerian sources to some of these words in the Bible:
" However with Sumerian, it becomes much more confusing – how did words from the Sumerian language exactly get into the Hebrew language? Sumerian civilization was wiped out as much as half a millennium before the birth of Israel. Wouldn’t that render the entire scenario you’re adjudicating a little more improbable than my scenario of Egyptian origins, since there almost certainly is zero continuity between Sumerian language and Israelite language given how far apart these civilizations existed in the archaeological and ancient records?"
Yep… I know. It takes several passes to straighten the mess out.
First you have to make a pass through the texts to get them sorted by date of composition. People love to
attribute Genesis to Moses. But there are all sorts of markers that indicate a post-Exilic date of composition/editing.
I list them at the bottom of the posting.
If the stories of David touch on 12 tribes, then Exodus provides the back story of how the 12 tribes emerged into 12 powerful nations.
But then the Patriarchal material is written to provide the backstory of Exodus, so that we learn that the 12 tribes are derived from 12 sons of Israel. The idea that any number of sons would go on to produce independent tribes is rather unprecedented and virtually unsupportable on its very face.
And yet we find the exact same story extended to the Ishmaelites…12 Ishmaelite tribes from 12 sons of Ishmael!
But to answer your question, Sumerian is not something restricted to the extinct Sumerian culture. The Sumerians had their written language, and even the pronunciation of their language preserved as the West preserved the religious language of Latin. The Babylonian scribes, who still wrote Sumerian cuneiform, knew the Sumerian word and the Akkadian word for the very same cuneiform character.
We read the post-exilic books of the Bible, and we are told the Jewish intellectuals were very quick to gain intellectual superiority over the native “magi”, “fortune tellers” and so forth. They learned the ancient writing forms. And I think we have a good example of how they used the ancient words to forge a brand new word (technically, such words in any language are called Neologisms, literally “new words”).
Let’s examine the word Cherub. Much ink has been spilled to try to find the semitic origin for this word used so often in the Old Testament. Mind you, I think several researchers get into the general area of the origin… with cognates that have related meanings.
But when I went looking into a Cuneiform Dictionary, I bumped into the two parts of that word within just a few hours!
If we look up “Ker” and “Ub” separately, the blood chills - -
“Ker” can mean “Guard” or “Watcher”. While “Ub” can mean “nook”, “corner” or “small room”.
Is this just one of those random occurences? I’m a little skeptical. The Cherubs in the Holy of Holies, are
installed in a “small room”… and their principle function is to “guard”.
Another interesting “coincidence” is the use of the term “Edom”. Most biblicists will tell you that “Edom” is a cognate of “Red”, or “Clay” or “Mankind”. Yes, I suppose it can be seen that way in the semitic lexicon.
But the connection starts getting a little tenuous when we read about a person named Obed-Edom!
And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, H5654 and Jeiel, the porters.
The explanation of this name is most eye-opening!
Obed-edom = “servant of Edom”
"a Levite and[/or] a Gittite who kept the ark after Uzzah was slain by God
for touching the ark while it was being taken to Jerusalem; . . .the name
of five Israelites:—Obed-edom.
Most linguists calmly accept that the “Servant of Edom” is not a reference to
being a servant of the Nation Edom… but of a deity that was named Edom.
Who would this “Red God”, or “Clay God” or “Human God” be?
2 Kings Chapter 3 tells the complex stor of Israel and Judah invading Moab by way of
Edom, the ally at that time to Israel and Judah.
Starting with verse 15, we read that Elisha has an idea about the thirsting armies that were sent to punish Moab:
“… now bring me [Elisha] a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.”
And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
So imagine a country filled with dug out ditches… now filled with water. And in the subsequent verses, we read that the Moabites see the morning sun reflected in these ditches, reflecting red, and “and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.”
I had to include the exact words of 2 Kings 3, because who would believe it if someone paraphrased it. It’s a bit preposterous. Edom was notorious for being a low-elevation depression, with a water table almost every where near the surface. Any traveler in the region would know this. So to think that neighboring Moabites would confuse ground water for blood is about as convincing as 6 days of creation.
How does this connect with “Obed-Edom”, servant of a deity of Edom, and all this “red water”? This entire chapter is a giant example of word play: the red and the blood and the clay of soggy ground are the cognates of 'dm < the Hebrew.
But what about all this water? Is this simply an extension of “blood” as a water? No, not really. Though that connection would of course be appreciated by the Hebrew scribes as well.
The Sumerians had a word for “under ground spring” or “ground water” … the water that filled the topography of Edom. The word was " iddim " ! In fact this word could also be used to mean the God of all underground water, Enki.
Enki = Iddim.
The Hebrew scribes would discover this meaning, and coincidence?, when they learned Cuneiform in the Exile.
And they would learn that a “small room guard” could be called a “Ker-Ub”.
Lastly - Zoroastrian Influence
The puzzle of Zoroastrian and Magian influence has been studied in fits and starts over the years. The height of Magi influence on the surrounding people would come, ironically, with the collapse of the Persian Empire. No longer having the purpose of nurting the Persian nature, Magi had to learn to earn their keep amongst the incoming Greeks and anybody else who would pay for their knowledge. So, we have 200 years of Persian hegemony, when the Magi were in charge of religious education, followed by another 200 years of Greek hegemony, where the Magi had to make themselves popular to the foreign peasants and the elites alike.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Ten years ago I wrote up this list of Eight correspondences with Persian culture. It’s not perfect, but it will certainly give you the flavor of what I’m discussing:
A Persian “Chariot Cult of the Sun”… we
haven’t found any cult like this any earlier…
except for the “fictionated” time frame of the
"sun chariot" mentioned in the bible. Herodotus describes
the Persian king travelling with a ritual chariot of
2) A Persian cult of an “eternal flame”… haven’t
found any cult like this any earlier… did they get
this idea from the Egyptians? I haven’t heard anyone
suggest this yet.
3) A shortened version of Persian/Mede/Scythian
trousers for priests… described by Josephus and
Herodotus using the same vocabulary associated with
Scythian trousers… again, there are no known
alternative sources for this vocabulary or apparel.
Egyptian priests wore “apron-style” apparel. And other
cultures wore robes with no reference to any special
under-garments. Trouser-style garments… now THAT was
interesting! And Herodotus knew this.
4) The Hebrew use of the term “kani-besm” for an
incense that apparently is an authentic word of the
Scythian vocabulary for an incense that they ALSO
used for religious purposes. Americans have their
own word for the very same thing: 'Canna-Bis’
The use of this plant was introduced in the region
by the Scythian invaders and troopers - before and
during the Persian occupation.
5) The Ezra/Nehemia fixation on “ethnic purity”,
which parallels concerns in Zoroastrian groups for
racial purity, can be seen as redacted back into various bible
texts regarding racial purity. Interestingly, this isn’t
even a consistent redaction. The Levites are a
virtual “caste” … as are the Magi. And this is part
of the Indo-European heritage, not the Semitic one.
The Babylonian/Chaldaean parallels of "Enki"
mythology to Genesis… involving at LEAST four
distinct “Enki” story cycles in creation and mentoring
humanity, which appears to fuse with Persian
myths involving an extreme dualism of good
& evil… found combined in the O.T. (Genesis
was probably originally a Chaldaea-influenced
Samaritan Zadokite document). Point Six is so
powerful, especially in connection with Genesis,
a book purported to be the very first book!
The “exemplars” of the Book of Daniel, and
Esther, which present convincingly detailed and
intimate histories of Jewish personalities, that
are “transparently” non-historical (though I
do agree that they are useful in documenting
sociological realities). Esther is a Jerusalem
document that explains why Jews celebrate a
Persian anti-Magi holiday. [See Herodotus’
story of the Slaughter of the Magi.]
Daniel was written just before or at the Maccabeean
period. Despite the recency of these works, they are
considered ancient and legitimate parts of the Old
Testament. Imagine the possibilities of divergence from
reality for works that are slightly older, or for which we have
no available historical information that contradicts some
of these fantastic biblical chronologies.
“…in the Persian sanctuaries of Hierocaesarea
and Hypaipa in Lydia, Pausanias (Description of Greece, V, 27, 6)
had witnessed Magi light altars from a distance by atoning
’barbarian’ chants. On this point, it is not inconceivable that
the Chaldaean theurges made use of a secret from an ancient
[END OF TEXT]
Compare this to the biblical discussion of Elijah:>
1Ki 18:36-38 And it came to pass at [the time of] the offering
of the [evening] sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and
said,LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this
day that thou [art] God in Israel, and [that] I [am] thy servant,
and [that] I have done all these things at thy word.
Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that
thou [art] the LORD God, and [that] thou hast turned their
heart back again.
Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice,
and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water
that [was] in the trench. "
The term for water, Hebrew “mayim”, can have various meanings,
including “water of the ‘foot’ = urine”, “water of danger”,
“water of violence”. This term can easily apply to kinds of “bad
water”, and so we should not be surprised if the “water” placed on
the altar was, in fact, the part of the same “trickery” that allowed
the Magi (and Hebrew prophets) to perform this very same miracle!
I am not suggesting that Elijah was a MAGI, I am saying that this
part of Kings is consistent with a bible writer who has been exposed
to the “magic” of the Magi, and thus he puts this same kind of
miraculous power in the hands of his “Elijah”.
[End of Section]
“You don’t seriously think I did not know what you meant?”
It appears as if you took my comments as insults, which they most certainly were not. The biblical etymology of the name ‘Moses’ is from the Hebrew word mashuy, and has nothing to do with any Egyptian word. In other words, when I state that the etymology of Moses’ name is Egyptian, this is not coming from the Bible. You also said “I grew up loving Charlton Heston, and any repeat watcher of Exodus knows that Moses is supposed to be an Egyptian name.” This makes it sound as if the entire claim is some sort of Christian conception, even though it was introduced by scholarship. Even scholars as minimmalistic as John Van Seters has accepted this etymology to Moses name (but he denies any historical implications). Anyhow, I’m not exactly sure, but it also sounds as if you make me out to be a YEC in your comments, of which I am not. I accept the evolutionary paradigm. Another mistake you seemingly make about my position is insinuating I think Moses authored the Pentateuch – again, I do not hold this view. I did a few months ago, but I was thoroughly convinced otherwise by the arguments of Christopher Rollston, a famed linguist at George Washington University.
At this point, I suspect that the Pentateuch was composed some time from the 10th-6th centuries BC. Although a later dating is possible, I find it improbable for a number of reasons. One, there’s actually a manuscript of one part of Numbers that dates to c. 600 BC, a little before the exile. Secondly, recent advancements in the literacy of ancient Judah have, according to Israel Finkelstein among others, made it more improbable for a post-exilic composition of the Pentateuch. Here’s the paper. http://www.pnas.org/content/113/17/4664.short
But, that’s besides the point entirely. This is about whether or not Moses’ name is of Egyptian origins (the majority position of scholars), or if it of Sumerian origins, a position I have never come across in any publications I’ve reviewed. As I noted earlier, the mere idea of Sumerian origins is very suspect since Sumer was crushed half a millennium before Israel even emerged, and in your view, more than a millennium before the Pentateuch was actually composed. Was there ever a continuity of Sumerian language that stretched so long after Sumer’s demise that allowed their words to be present in the time of Israel and Exodus? According to you, yes;
“But to answer your question, Sumerian is not something restricted to the extinct Sumerian culture. The Sumerians had their written language, and even the pronunciation of their language preserved as the West preserved the religious language of Latin. The Babylonian scribes, who still wrote Sumerian cuneiform, knew the Sumerian word and the Akkadian word for the very same cuneiform character.”
The problem I have is that you haven’t provided a citation. I’m fully intent on working with you to come to a reasonable conclusion about the evidence, but I cannot accept this claim until you provide justification that the Sumerian language did in fact have a continuity into the emergence of Israel. So far, you have not referenced your claims and I therefore cannot accept what you’re saying just as much as I cannot accept when a YEC tells me that dinosaurs lived alongside humans until I have a valid citation to what they’re saying.
A second thing to take note, something that I’ve mentioned earlier, is that there already are a significant number of Egyptian loanwords into the ancient Hebrew language as it is. In fact, the Egyptian language seems to have influenced early biblical Hebrew as much as the Persian language influenced the books of Nehemiah and Ezra during the Persian control of Israel. Not only that, but a number of biblical names are also of Egyptian origins (besides Moses itself), including Miriam, Phinehas, Putiel, Assir, and others. We have none of this from Sumerian. So, not only does this hypothesis of a Sumerian origin already suffer serious drawbacks by simply taking a look at the timeline of Sumer’s cultural continuity after its demise, but we already know Israel was doing a lot of borrowing from nowhere else besides Egypt itself when it comes to a large number of words and names in the Hebrew language directly borrowed from Egyptian. In fact, there are hundreds of Egyptian words in the Exodus and wilderness narratives by themselves.
I don’t care much about the origins of cherub (hebrew: kerub), although I’m not convinced by your reconstruction, and at this point I would relegate your findings to coincidence. In Assyrian, there is a word ‘karabu’ which means ‘to bless’, and though I don’t think the Hebrews borrowed the term from Assyria, I think that the biblical/assyrian words have ‘common ancestors’ linked to a word denoting blessings/holiness/greatness or something of the like. According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, kerub is of uncertain origins. But even ignoring all of this, it appears as if the etymology for Moses name has significant evidence backing it up and a large number of (probably the majority) egyptologists.
I did not take your comments as insults. What I was reacting to was that I somehow didn’t know most of the world
believes the story that Moshe’s (Moses’) name comes from the same Egyptian origin as the suffix in Tutmosis.
[It should be noted for others in the audience, at least one more time, that the 2 syllable English word “Moses” is derived from the Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew word for “MS”, typically sounded out in the English speaking world as
The article in Academia.edu was a long string of how some names used in the Bible have Egyptian origins. And I would have to agree. But Moshe is probably not one of them. When I read the title of the article, I thought there was going to be some serious exploration of the Hebrew religion and its Egyptian influences. But no. It was pretty much a summary of Hebrew names with Egyptian etymologies. This lacking may, in fact, be due to the lack of Egyptian influences on Jewish theology and metaphysics.
Egyptian afterlife, for anyone with enough resources and and
reading skills to prepare for the 9 gates of passage.
vs. Hebrew afterlife which is pretty much ignored in
most of the Jewish Bible.
Egyptian soul was immortal, and the body was important as
a spiritual anchor. But the body was not resurrected.
vs. Latter-day Jewish writings that said you will need a
replacement body at the End of Days, as part of resurrection.
Egyptian priests talked about a scary lake of fire in the underworld, but there
is virtually no commentary suggesting that anyone evil got thrown into it. Evil
people were consumed by a deity that was part alligator.
vs. Latter-day Jewish writings that said the Lake of Fire was
used to torture humans for eternity.
Egyptian proverbs do seem to have made it into the Jewish writings.
Historical Fine Points: When Babylon conquered Egypt, Jeremiah fled with a contingent of refugees into Egypt. Their community (or more than one) has been referenced by academics as the Jeremiad communities. They were exposed to considerable Egyptian culture, where there were thousands of supervised temples throughout the land, managed by literatre cadres of priests. Compared to the sole temple in Jerusalem, capable of sustaining a handful of priestly clans.
When Persia conquered the Babylonians, and took over the supervision of the Jewish Exilic communities, it was not very long before the Persians conquered Egypt as well. On that fateful day, the frontier between Egypt and Persia disappeared. Coincidentally (?), academics note that around the same time the residential areas where the Jeremiad community had dwelled became depopulated. Under the circumstances, it would be reasonable to suppose that the Jeremiad leadership saw the falling of the frontier as a good time to wander back to Jerusalem. This would be a time when elements of Egyptian culture would have been imported into Jewish culture.
After Alexander the Great swept through the area, his generals divided up the “civilized world”. Little appreciated is the fact the Ptolemies re-occupied Palestine and Syria, apart from some frequent interruptions of war and invasion by the Seleucid Greeks, for almost 130 years. It was when the Seleucids finally re-acquired Judeah that the trouble began to start. In 175 BCE, Epiphanes assumed the Seleucid throne. Onias III, the High Priest, is deposed. And things start to run down hill from that point on. It’s not even 10 years before the Greeks trigger the Maccabeean wars.
I bring up the point about the Ptolemies because this is another extended period where Egyptian culture (along with Greek culture of course) could have been interesting to the Jewish priests and leaders.
@Korvexius, the long-standing persistence of Sumerian cuneiform is a well known (but perhaps not so understood) reality of the ANE. I’ll dig up some citation for you… but this is not one of my burning priorities. You should already know about such things.
But I will grant you this important concession: My discussion about “Moshe” being a Serpent Priest, is something I have investigated as part of my having the outlook of a Unitarian Universalist. It is hardly a scenario that much of the world has ever heard about, nor will it ever be considered anything more than the crazed speculations of a handful of folk.
So, I am not going to pummel this scenario into the ground. BioLogos is really not the place to spend anything more than a “blip” of time on alternate interpretations of Biblical history… maybe not even a blip. So don’t worry. I’m not going to wreck the party with hammer-fisted speculations that never end …
After watching yet another Yale lecture from Christine Hayes, I checked how the discourses were going and was pleased to find another response from you, and I was further pleased to see you didn’t take my remarks as insults.
Anyways, you listed four differences between Egyptian religion and Israelite religion. It is to be expected that these two won’t be anything near identical for a host of reasons. However, this does not take away from the many Egyptian influences I have enumerated so far – I have in fact listed and shown how a large number of biblical names are actually of Egyptian origins, and that literally hundreds of Egyptian words appear in the exodus and wilderness narratives alone in the Hebrew Bible. You theorize that some of these influences could have made their ways during the Ptolemaic occupation of Israel. However, I’m only aware of one book in the Hebrew Bible that scholars believe date to this period – Daniel, certainly not the exodus narratives and other works. I also have numbered reasons to believe that the Pentateuch, whatever form it contained, was originally written anywhere between the 10th-6th centuries BC, before the exile had happened, from literacy in Judah that, according to Finkelstein and others, may limit the final date to the 6th century BC, an actual fragment of the Book of Numbers dating to the end of the 7th century BC (search up the silver scrolls), and another thing I did not mention in my previous comment – there are many events from the 13th-10th centuries BC that have made their ways into the deuteronomistic history (DtrH), of which are beautifully recorded by a famous Israeli archaeologist Amihai Mazar here: https://www.academia.edu/23199258/Archaeology_and_the_Bible_Reflections_on_Historical_Memory_in_the_Deuteronomistic_History._In_C.M.Maeier_Congress_Volume_Munich_2013_Vetus_Testamentum_Supplementum_Leiden_Brill_2014_pp.347-369
This makes it, for me, implausible to think that the composition of the Pentateuch could have been too much later.
And yet another reason to enumerate is the mentioning of the city Rameses (Pi-Rameses) a few times in the Pentateuch, such as, importantly, Exodus 1:11. Once the second millennium BC came to a closing, this city was no longer called Rameses, but was then referred onwards as ‘Tanis’. Yet, the more ancient name of Rameses for the city is preserved in the biblical records. This is an Egyptian influence that sprung in Israel in the late second millennium BC. For a host of reasons, I see the Egyptian elements in the biblical works originating in the late second millennium BC, and then making their way into the Pentateuch and other biblical books. I think we can both agree that the Egyptian influences in the biblical works are considerable, and far-exceeding the virtually non-existent Sumerian influence in the biblical works. That provides a serious stone in favor of the theory that Moses is of Egyptian origins, rather than Sumerian, and provides the background for this claim to go through.
Moving on, we return to the continuity of Sumerian culture and language. While Egypt was alive and well once Israel emerged (indeed, the Merneptah Stele, the first mention of Israel in recorded history, is an Egyptian record), and was certainly influencing Israel as we have seen, Sumer had been done-in for half a millennium. You say this regarding my ignorance of Sumerian continuity;
the long-standing persistence of Sumerian cuneiform is a well known (but perhaps not so understood) reality of the ANE. I’ll dig up some citation for you… but this is not one of my burning priorities. You should already know about such things
I do apologize, my knowledge of the second millennium BC is rather rusty outside of Egypt. I haven’t been researching all of this long enough but I’ve made great strides recently. According to a quick check on Wikipedia, the Sumerian language did in fact survive far beyond the demise of Sumer itself, all the way until the 1st century AD, which means you were right about this. However, it’s not as simple as that. After reading the AHE article on Sumerian language, I continue seeing the struggle of trying to assign any continuity with this language to Israel itself. Apparently, Sumerian was mostly preserved by the Babylonians after 2000 BC when the spoken language died off, which further significantly decreased after the Old Babylonian Period ended about 1600 BC. Furthermore, it was still mostly the Babylonians who used this language, usually only to preserve their ancient traditions that they considered of importance. With no evidence of influence on Israel’s neighbors, let alone Israel itself, I continue seeing Egypt as a vastly more probable source for the name Moses, as do most egyptologists.
Then you, my good sir, are not familiar with the scenario that virtually all of the Jewish Bible texts were heavily re-worked during and after Exile.
Genesis has all sorts of “flags” in it … indicating such recent work:
Did the scribes learn the four Enki myth cycles while in Egypt?
We have Enki the Creator who uses clay to make humans;
Enki who denies humanity immortality;
Enki the language confuser;
Enki the Warner of the Flood.
The Sumerian myths also include the story of a new life named
"Lady of the Rib" because she will cure Enki’s painful rib. Academics
generally consider this to be the inspiration for why Eve was created
from Adam’s Rib, and thus becoming literally, the Rib Lady. This
word play is only possible if you understand Sumerian.
Genesis is filled with angels. There are no ancient civilizations with
this feature in their theology or metaphysics - - beings that would be called
angels were simply other gods. The only culture that taught "angelology"
were the Persians (via Zoroastrians).
And so on and so on…
One of the indicators that stories were telescoping backwards in times (being
written as backstories) are the odd inconsistencies here and there.
The story of David talks about his having 2 tribes in his control, and the
other 10 tribes being jealous of his power.
Exodus enumerates the 12 tribes of Israel.
And Joshua explains where the 12 tribes settle.
But the story of David, later in the timeline, but perhaps written before (though, I haven’t made up my mind on this matter), tells us that David has Benjamin and Judah.
Which means the 10th tribe of the Northern Kingdom is Simeon… to the South of Judah!
It is a confusion like this that helps propel some academics to look for the “literary seams” between stories, betraying the true sequence of the books and their composition.
Clearly the Bible is not about physics as some people try to make it. However it is about humanity which is another kind of science. Thus people need to stop looking for the wrong science in it and look for the right type. As I have said before Adam and Eve event is about the coming of self awareness and sin to human beings, NOT the first genetically humans.
We need to appreciate and learn from ideas as they are, not what we think they are.
I don’t see here any evidence of “substantial reworking” of the Pentateuch in the post-exilic period. All the ideas in your first point, traditions of the confusion of the languages, flood, etc, were in the common near eastern culture throughout the second millennium BC, if not earlier. The flood concept of Genesis’s primeval history probably derives from the Epic of Atrahasis (c. 1700 BC), the first story of the confusion of the languages comes from a story called Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta dating to the late 3rd millennium BC, etc. Adam and Eve’s story also certainly has predecessors in the second millennium BC milieu, far earlier than the exilic period. See;
This Mesopotamian artifact, even though we don’t know its provenance, dates to the late 3rd millennium BC (probably c. 2200-2100 BC), and depicts a man and a women sitting around a sacred tree, reaching for its fruits. It’s currently housed in the British Museum. You ask me this in your most recent comment;
So you think the Sumerian parallels found in Genesis is either illusionary, or exaggerated or in fact based on Egyptian legends?
I’m not sure if these are precisely Sumerian traditions at all, nor are they Assyrian, Babylonian, Hittite, Egyptian, etc. I think these were common near eastern traditions shared in the broad, cultural milieu of the time, and that’s why all these stories (or variations thereof) pop up across all these cultures, usually in one form or another. Genesis wasn’t taking grabs from one specific nation or another, or one specific language or another, these are simply stories known throughout the broader region at the time that everyone would have known about (like how everyone today in the West, because of our cultural background, knows about the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent), and so we have these texts popping up that embed these traditions, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish, Genesis, etc. This wasn’t a Sumerian story, this was a near eastern story.
Lastly, angels. For this discussion, I’ll concede that the angelic concept seems to have borrowed from Zoroastrianism. However, this borrowed concept of angels only seems to be present in later books of the Bible (like Daniel), and is not present in the Pentateuch where a different idea of ‘angels’ seems to be present. In other words, I don’t find this as evidence of reworking of the Pentateuch, and even if it was, this would hardly support “heavily reworking” as you put it. Anyways, this is quite apart from the main discussion.
I think, at this point, I’ve already been able to show that the Egyptian influence in the Pentateuch runs wide and deep, and that significant Egyptian traditions entered into Israel’s religion, not during the exilic or later periods, but in the late second millennium BC. Thus, it’s only proper to consider Moses’ name also being of Egyptian etymology, not Sumerian. I am not aware of a single word in the entire Hebrew Bible borrowed directly from Sumerian language, and so it would be quite an anamoly for Moses in specific to be that special one. Secondly, I’ve already enumerated how the influence of Sumerian language was very limited during Israel’s time, seemingly mostly limited to Babylonians preserving their ancient tradition, and therefore would not be exactly a good place to look for explaining the name Moses, especially when such a plausible option already exists in Egyptian.
Thank you for taking on some of the heavy lifting on the general issue of cultural and religious influences on the Pentateuch. Nicely done!
Let me offer some helpful clarifications:
The issue of Angels was specifically brought up in connection to Genesis. In my view, Genesis is one of the most recent texts of the Pentateuch.
Are you suggesting that, in your view, these ANE parallels are something that would have been more likely acquired in Egypt than during the Babylonian exile?
You say you have “been able to show that the Egyptian influence in the Pentateuch runs wide and deep…”, but really, only in producing Israelites that have names with Egyptian origins. Egypt was in full blown “empire mode” over the Levant, and all the way up to the Syrian frontier, for centuries - - starting with the expulsion of the Hyksos, and ending with the entrenchment of their former enemies, the Philistines, who having been settled on the coast by Egyptian authorities, opted to take Palestine if they could not take the Egyptian homeland. If you are going to bring up the Amarna texts as some kind of rebuttal. During a time when the crown was minimally interested in Empire, the Amarna texts still show local chieftains highly oriented to Egypt, and the movement of even tiny forces changing the fate of an entire city-state… all the way up to Jerusalem and beyond. So when did Egyptian-derived names become popular in Canaan? Maybe centuries before the birth of Abraham.
But, really, I don’t have to convince you … because based on this writer, many more academics have already been convinced!
Below is a link to an early page in a book by Peter Enns:
Thank you for taking on some of the heavy lifting on the general issue of cultural and religious influences on the Pentateuch. Nicely done!
Why thank you!
It looks as if we’re going to talk about the dating of Genesis again. It appears as if our opinions diverge here – I view the Pentateuchal texts as productions from the 10th-6th centures BC, before the exile happened, whereas you view them as post-exilic (or exilic?). Before I move on (as I will show this is not a fundamental issue here), I will reiterate a number of the points I made regarding the dating of the composition of the Pentateuch, or at least the time in which the Egyptian influences made their way into the Pentateuch. I will simply quote myself from earlier;
And yet another reason to enumerate is the mentioning of the city Rameses (Pi-Rameses) a few times in the Pentateuch, such as, importantly, Exodus 1:11. Once the second millennium BC came to a closing, this city was no longer called Rameses, but was then referred onwards as ‘Tanis’. Yet, the more ancient name of Rameses for the city is preserved in the biblical records. This is an Egyptian influence that sprung in Israel in the late second millennium BC. For a host of reasons, I see the Egyptian elements in the biblical works originating in the late second millennium BC, and then making their way into the Pentateuch and other biblical books.
Indeed, to focus on one point, we do in fact have a portion of the Book of Numbers dating to roughly c. 600 BC discoverd in the 1970’s, by far the earliest physical fragment of any of the biblical books discovered, called the Ketef Hinnom inscriptions. Here’s a picture.
These manuscripts are now on display in the Israel Museum. I’m pretty sure this makes it completely unambiguous, whatsoever, that portions of the Pentateuch (or at the very least, what would become the Pentateuch) were already circulating in Israel before the exile. Nevertheless, the Egyptian influences, as I have shown earlier, can be traced back to entering Israel starting in the late second millennium BC. The influences I have shown go beyond many names, I’ve also pointed out that there are literally hundreds of Egyptian loanwords in the exodus and wilderness narratives alone. Go to pg. 52 in this paper; https://www.bibleinterp.com/PDFs/Noonan.pdf
That’s quite significant in comparison to the precisely zero we have from Sumerian! Now, moving on to a question you had for me;
Are you suggesting that, in your view, these ANE parallels are something that would have been more likely acquired in Egypt than during the Babylonian exile?
What I’m suggesting is that these stories of the man and women in the garden with the tree, the confusion of the languages, the floods, etc, were common near eastern stories and motifs common to all ancient near eastern societies and cultures. These weren’t Sumerian stories or Egyptian stories, they were near eastern stories that would have been inherited from generation to generation by anyone living in the general near eastern area. In other words, these stories would have been with the Israelite people from the very beginning of their emergence, and the fathers of the ‘founders’ of Israel would have known them, and the fathers of the fathers of Israel’s founders would have known them, and the fathers of the fathers of the fathers of Israel’s founders would have known them, etc. Everyone would have known them, just like everyone in Europe knows about the story of Adam and Eve – it’s not that the British got the story from the Germans who got the story from the Greeks, it’s simply that the story of Adam and Eve is part of the common cultural milieu of European and western society, so it’s no surprise that the Brits know it, and the Brits knowing it doesn’t at all imply that they took it from one particular culture, nor does Israel knowing of the flood story imply that they in turn took the flood story from one particular culture (like Sumer). The flood story (and other stories) were not cultural stories, they were multi-cultural stories.
So when did Egyptian-derived names become popular in Canaan? Maybe centuries before the birth of Abraham.
This is probably true, which is, again, why we should be looking towards Egypt rather than Sumer to explain the etymology of Moses name. Now, if there was no Egyptian word or name that was parallel to Moses (msh), I wouldn’t be saying this – but there is a very clear and important one in some of the most common names of Egypt, in the names of like half the pharaohs – mose, which means, to be born. Ptahmose, meaning born of the god Ptah, Ramses, meaning born of the god Ra, Thutmose, meaning born of the god Thut. Moses, on the other hand, retains this root without any polytheistic/gentilic overtones, for obvious reasons. This is such a good parallel from such a massive influence over the Levant in this entire period – Egypt itself – that it should be clear that this is where we should be looking towards for the etymology of Moses name (rather than the Sumerian word for snake priest, and I have shown that the influence of Sumer’s language over Israel is extremely negligble).
And now you are playing a semantic game. The cuneiform used by the Babylonians… and then inspiring scripts all over the ANE, with the exception of the Egyptians and the semitic populations who developed the Aleph-Bet systems. Cuneiform wouldn’t disappear until a century into the Christian Era.
Stories not based on Sumerian originals are easy to find. Sumerian stories that are not amplified later are hard to find. And identifying the differences between Egyptian lore and Sumerian/Akkadian legend is not particuarly labor intensive.
So what I see is you doggedly holding onto a few a hand-grips that don’t actually show what you think they show.
I acknowledge the antiquity of the silver inscriptions:
"Numbers 6:24–26 contains one of the central passages of Scripture, known as the “Priestly” or “Aaronic” Benediction:
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.
“Evidence for the antiquity of this passage has now been found. Excavations in Jerusalem in 1979–80 by Gabriel Barkay turned up two amulets dating from the late seventh century BC.”
This is actually the time frame we would expect to find the “raw material” for an Exilic “edit” of the “old religion” of Judah.
And finally, to conclude, you dip again into the Egyptian sense of the word “Ms”.
So… while you are clearly enamored with the beautiful correlation of Moses being brought up from the Nile,
you don’t have any appreciation for the following:
The person known as Ms (which in Cuneiform used by Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians & Babylonians meant both Priest and Serpent), carries a Staff that can turn into the totem animal which in Genesis is identified with the author of lies, and inspiration for corruption of the entire world.
Ms, the person who said he wouldn’t be believed by Pharaoh, and so he was divinely instructed on how to transform his staff into a serpent.
Ms, now literally becoming the world’s newest High Priest of a Divine Serpent (the Akkadian symbol of the god Ea/Ya), not only demonstrated this power, but demonstrated his serpent power more proficiently than three of Pharaoh’s serpent men.
Ms, the very genetic source of the Levitical priesthood, and yet his two sons have ongoing role, leaving it to a “semi-fictional” character whose name is apparently virtually identical to the Hebrew word for “Ark”, in which a section of “serpent stick” is stored. Note: The phrase “Sons of Aaron” almost certainly represents an older phrase “Sons of the Ark”.
Background Detail on the words for Aaron and Ark -
Strong’s Hebrew #175 = אַהֲרוֹן = 'Aharown
Strong’s Hebrew #727 = אָרוֹן = 'arown
which, interestingly enough, correlates oddly to the Jebustie custodian of the threshing floor bought by David:
Strong’s Hebrew #771 = אָרְנָן = 'Ornan
As well as a mix of other variants:
"ar-av-naw’, or (by transposition) אוֹרְנָה = ʼÔwrᵉnâh;
or אַרְנִיָּה ʼArnîyâhlemma אַנִיָּה missing resh, corrected to אַרְנִיָּה;
all by orthographical variation for H771; Aravnah (or Arnijah or Ornah), the Jebusite: - Araunah.
Ms, the very man who encouraged the Hebrew to look to a “brazen serpent on a pole” (to find relief from the totem animal - the snake), not just in some random spot in the desert, but in Edom, near Oboth. Oboth is the plural form of the word “owb”, which means either “wizard” or the familiar spirits the wizard calls upon. Edom is also the land of Petra, where to this day the remains of a rather large coiled snake statue can still be seen!
. [ Click on image to see person standing next to snake monument (showing scale) in black & white upper right image. ]
In the 1800’s David Roberts found a hidden entrance to a tomb under the snake carved on the roof of the squared outcropping. And inside the tomb, when they dug it out, there was no body, but there was a black painted rod… buried in the tomb, with a hidden entrance, under a giant carved snake. Draw your own conclusions.
The next we hear of the serpent pole of Moses (Ms) is in the reign of Hezekiah:
2 Kings 18:1
Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem… . .
2 Kings 18:4
He [Hezekiah] removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made:
for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it…
Burning incense was an act of devotion to a deity.
Assuming that this serpent pole, erected by Moses, had to have been continuously moved ever since that time.
It traveled with the people wherever Moses led them. Then after Moses died, Joshua must have continued to
march around with the Serpent Pole. Then during the period of Judges, someone somewhere watched over
the Serpent Pole, presumably a place having trouble with snakes.
After Judges, we have the period of Saul and David, and when David assumes the throne, we don’t know if the Serpent Pole goes with him to Hebron. Maybe it stays in Hebron during the successive reigns of 14 more kings, until we reach the 15th King: Hezekiah - - who rules during the last quarter of the 700’s BCE.
So what do we notice about the Serpent Pole? By the time of Hezekiah, people are burning incense to the snake.
The prophets Isaiah, and Joel and Micah… nobody seems to think there is a problem with a serpent on a pole in the midst of the kingdom, erected by what any Assyrian or Babylonian visitor would assume is a Serpent/Priest, since he hears his name is “Ms”, and that Ms even demonstrated his power with snakes.
If the New Testament didn’t compare Jesus to the serpent pole of Moses, I suppose there wouldn’t be much to talk about!
John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”
The phrase “lifted up” is a veiled reference to resurrection.