New Research Breakthrough! The Prophet Hosea and the Cimmerians (26 October, 2014, 2 Cheshvan, 5775)
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The Name Jezreel and the Assyrian Term for Cimmerians.
1. Introduction. The Cimmerians Appear
The Lost Ten Tribes before their exile were referred to by the Assyrians by a name that could be pronounced much like the term Gimirri or Gomer. This was a name given to the Cimmerians who appeared shortly after the Israelites were exiled in areas the Israelites had been exiled unto. This coincidence has been remarked upon by researchers for more than 200 years. There are those who want to say that the Ten Tribes and the Cimmerians were one and the same. We however tend to the view that the Cimmerians were a confederation of non-Israelites peoples whom the exiles became federated with or similarly attached to. A similarity or identity of names in Biblical Exegesis often (but not always) indicates a shared origin OR presages a future association.
Gomer was the name of a son of Japhet son of Noah (Genesis 10:3). Gomer was the father of Ashkenaz, Riphat, and Togarmah (Genesis 10:3).
The Prophet Hosea explicitly tells us that from his union with the woman Gomer emerged three children. These will be shown to represent the Lost Ten Tribes in their future state of exile. This corresponds with historical researches that show Gomer, being the Cimmerian peoples, linking up with and including Israelites amongst them. The first child was named "Jezreel" (Hosea 1:4); the second "Lo-Ruchamah" (Hosea 1:6); and the third "Lo-Ami" (Hosea 1:9). The name Gomer for the mother of the children is the same name Scripture uses in the Book of Genesis for the Cimmerians. Remarkably enough the name of the first son of Hosea and Gomer, "Jezreel", also corresponds with an Assyrian appellation applied to the Cimmerians!
2. Jezreel and the Scattering
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 Then the LORD said to him: Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 It shall come to pass in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.
Hosea was commanded to name his son Jezreel.
Jezreel (pronounced "yezri-el") is the name of a town and a valley. It was a place of importance in Israelite history. In prophecy its significance involves the meaning of its name from the root 'Yezer' which can mean both to scatter and to ingather, and also links to the term for sowing or "seed". At first the negative meaning of "scatter" will be applied, then later in the End Times the positive sense of "ingather" will be realized (Hosea 2:2).
3. Divine Retribution in Action
Hosea tells us that the bloodshed of Jezreel will be requited on the Household of Jehu. This person had been an Israelite military commander who killed and replaced King Jehoram son of Ahab. Prior to that, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had illegally contrived the death of Naboth "the Jezreelite".
After the death of Naboth the Prophet Elijah declared to Ahab:
21 Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. 22 I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin. 23 And concerning Jezebel the LORD also spoke, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. 24 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.
Ahab however repented and humbled himself. God therefore delayed fulfillment of the curse until the reign of his son, Jehoram (1-Kings 21:28). King Jehoram of Israel was the son of Ahab and Jezebel. Together with his nephew (son of his sister) Ahaziah, King of Judah, Jehoram went to war against the Aramaeans and was wounded. Jehoram accompanied by Ahaziah of Judah retired to the city of Jezreel to recover (2-Kings 8:28f). Meanwhile, the prophet Elisha had sent one of his students to a meeting of the Israelite generals and anointed one of them, Jehu, in place of Jehoram as King (2-Kings 9:5-6, 11-14). Jehu then hurried to Jezreel, killed Jehoram and caused the death of Ahaziah. Jehu then entered the city of Jezreel and ordered Jezebel, the mother of Jehoram, put to death (2-Kings 9:35-7). In continuation Jehu had the seventy sons of Ahab (brothers of Jehoram) who were in Samaria executed. He also killed the brothers of Ahaziah who were in the area and slaughtered another forty-two people connected to the House of Omri to which Ahab and Jehoram belonged (2-Kings 10:12-14). Jehu was "avenging the blood of Naboth" (2-Kings 9:21, 25, 26) spilled by Ahab. After that Jehu met Jehonadab the Rechabite, whom he took into his chariot, and they entered Samaria the capital together. In Samaria, Jehu summoned together all of the worshipers of Baal. Jehu pretended to want to worship the idol with them. He then killed the baal-worshippers (2 Kings 10:19-25), and destroyed their temple (10:27).
As a reward for wiping out the House of Ahab, Jehu was promised that the throne would remain in his family for four generations (2-Kings 10:30). After Jehu came Jehahaz, then Joash, then Jeroboam-2, and after that Zechariah who reigned for six months. Hosea began to prophesy in the time of Jeroboam-2.
Jeroboam-2 may be considered the last true king of Israel since he reigned by Divine Sanction. Jehu had been promised that he would reign for four generations and if we include himself, Jeroboam-2 was the last of the four. Zechariah who came after him was therefore an usurper.
Zechariah was murdered and in effect played the price for his forefather Jehu having wiped out the House of Ahab. Rabbi David Kimchi (known as the "Radak", 1160-1234, Italy) explains (Commentary on Hosea 1:4) that even though the family of Ahad deserved what they got Jehu and his offspring had not justified they being their replacement. Jehu himself had strayed from the path he should have adhered to.
31 But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the Lord the God of Israel with all his heart; he did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit.
King Zechariah (son of Jeroboam-2) was the last of the line of Yehu. Zechariah was to be killed and replaced by Shalum. He in turn was killed by Menahem the son of Gad who was followed by his son Pekahiah. Pekah killed Pekahiah and in turn was slain by someone named Hosea who became the last king of Israel.
4. Jezreel and the Ten Tribes
The Prophet Hosea was told above, "Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel." Jezreel was one of the terms to be applied to the Ten Tribes.
The word translated above as "avenge" in Hebrew is "u-pakad-ati" which literally means "take back what is due". The four generations had come to an end. The debt that was owed for having carried out the killing in Jezreel was to have been paid. The Kingdom was then to be taken away. The decree had gone out. After that there was no legitimate ruler over Israel. [See "Torah Shel Baal Peh", by Rabbi Menachem Zeev Stern, on Hosea 1:4].
Jezreel was in the territory of the Tribe of Issachar. All the inhabitants of this region were exiled:
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.
5. Meaning of the Name Jezreel in Hebrew
The name Jezreel (Yizra-el) is from the word root 'YZR' related to ZRA meaning to sow seed. Sowing seed was done by hand by throwing grain. This utilizes the movement of the upper arm which was therefore known as ZeRoYaH which is a related word. The action of sowing seed then becomes YiZeR. Ingathering the seed after it has grown also employs the upper arm so that the root YZR depending on its inflection may be used for both actions, sowing and ingathering. It is not uncommon in Hebrew to find one word root applied to both a meaning and the opposite of that meaning e.g. SHaReSH means to uproot but SHaRiSH implies to take root. This word, "Jezreel", is also related to the word for 'seed' and 'to sow', in Hebrew 'ZeRaH'.
Jezreel in Hebrew is "Yizra-el" from the root "YZR". It is related to word roots such as "ZRA" seed, and to 'ZRH' strange, foreign, outside.
These expressions are all related. Seed is sown. It is thrown outwards. Seed is spread abroad like the Israelites when they were exiled. Seed is also gathered in with the harvest as the Ten Tribes will be in the End Time.
The name "Yizreel" brings to mind the Assyrian description "zer halqati" meaning 'Lost Seed' or 'scattered ones'. This is an expression used by the Assyrians to describe the Cimmerians. It is etymologically and conceptually related to the Hebrew term "Yizreel". In Assyrian terminology the Cimmerians were referred to as "zer halqati" meaning "Lost Seed" or "Lost Scattered Ones". Here too, just as in Hebrew, the Assyrian word "zer" can connote "seed" (ZRA) and "scattered" (ZRH) and "foreign" (ZaR). This expression was first used by the King of Assyria, Esarhaddon (letter ABL 1237) who was referring to the Cimmerians in general. Later Assurbanipal applies the epithet to Tugdamne one of the Cimmerian leaders.
The term was also applied in Neo-Assyrian texts (from the reign of Tiglathpileser onwards) to the Umman Manda.
Formerly the Umman Manda appear to have been nomads usually bearing Semitic names on the borders of land controlled by the Israelite Tribe of Manasseh.
Manda may have been used as the equivalent of the Hebrew name Manasseh since in northern regions the "d" and "s" could interchange.
In Neo-Assyrian writings the term Umman Manda was later applied to the Cimmerians and Scythians.
After that the Babylonians used it for the Medes or for both Medes and Scythians together.
[The Medes were to take the place of the Scythians and settle in their areas. The same name was then given to them. They too were to be called Umman Manda]. The Umman Manda were also known as 'zer halqati'.
Cogan and Tadmor translate zer halqati as "ruinous breed with "zer" being "breed".
Others render "halqati" as "barbarians", "vagabonds", "nomads" "destroyed", "cursed", "lost, fugitive".
See Adal p.125.
The word "halqati" therefore equated the Hebrew ABD meaning "lost, destroyed, or wandering". The Cimmerians were equated with Umman Manada and were "Lost Seed".
The Hebrew name 'Jezreel' (Yizrael) is therefore not so different from the meaning (and actual word root) of the Akkadian 'zer halqati'.
Were the appellations used by Hosea for his children and descriptive of the Exiled Israelites influenced by real names that were to be applied to them in their places of Exile?
Is this another aspect of inspired prophecy?
Adal, Selim F. 'Umman-manda and its Significance in the First Millennium B.C.", Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Sydney, Australia, 2009.
We drew above a parallel between the name "Jezreel" (Hosea 1:4) applied by the prophet to a portion of the Ten Tribes in Exile and a name applied to the Cimmerians by the Assyrians. The Cimmerians were referred to as "zer halqati" where "halqati" means "lost, destroyed, or wandering"."Zer" was understood to connote "breed" or "seed", "scattered" and/or "foreign". To those who are not familiar with Hebrew the similarity between Zer and Yizreel may not be so obvious.
Here are some linguistic notes that might help:
Modern Hebrew exegesis reduces all Hebrew word roots to three letters. In the past there existed a system of understanding based on word roots of two letters only. Both notions (i.e. either 2 or alternately 3 letter word roots) are correct in different contexts.
The word Jezreel in Hebrew is Yizra-el[יזראל] . The suffix "-el" אל means God. This was invariably dropped when re-applied in foreign parts. We are thus left with Yizra [ יזר] with the "a" merely serving a phonetic function and nothing more than that. This gives us Yizr which has three consonants YiZR.
In Hebrew the vowels assist in qualifying the grammatical meaning, e.g. fist tense, second tense, etc. They usually have no meaning beyond that. The Yi- [י] prefix in Yi-zra connotes "he will". It makes the word-root ZR [זר] take the third person singular future tense. We are thus left with two letters ZR [זר] . In principle these two letters together indicate "outside". We therefore have the word spelled ZR but pronounced Zer meaning outsider, stranger, or foreigner. The combination ZR with the addition of the suffix "-H" (ZRH) [זרה]connotes put outside, spread abroad, sow, cast out. This same combination ZR with the addition of the ayin suffix "-E" [זרע] means “put outside with power to regenerate of its own” i.e. seed. Zera means seed. These combinations are the same as those given by the Assyrians for the adjectival noun "zer" applied as a name to the Cimmerians.
In Hebrew these are the implications of the name Jezreel.
This was the name the Prophet Hosea said would be applied to a third part of the Ten Tribes and the first grouping to be spoken of.The Assyrians applied the appellation zer halqati ONLY to the Cimmerians and to the Unmman Manada who were synonymous with the Cimmerians. This name is the equivalent of the Hebrew Yizra-el (Jezreel) which was one of the three children of Hosea representing the Ten Tribes in their place of Exile.This is a research break-through of potential importance.
Jezreel and the Cimmerians. An End-Note
The Lost Ten Tribes were exiled to places the Cimmerians were found in.
We identify the Lost Ten Tribes as part of the Cimmerians and their offspring the Scythians.
The Cimmerians in the Bible were referred to as Gomer son of Japhet.
The Lost Ten Tribes became part of the peoples associated with Gomer who later moved to the west.
Names given to the Cimmerians by the Assyrians are the same as those given to Israelites.
One of these names was "zer halkati" translated as "ruinous breed" with "zer" being "breed".
Others render "halqati" as "barbarians", "vagabonds", "nomads" "destroyed", "cursed", "lost, fugitive".
"zer halqati" is understood to mean "Lost Seed" or "Lost Scattered Ones".
The emphasis is on the ZER word. This in Akkadian according to the above translations means foreign, scattered, seed, breed. It is similar to the Hebrew word-root ZaR.
ZaR in Hebrew means place outside, outsider (foreigner), sow, spread, scatter, seed. It gives rise to other word such as zera (seed, offspring), zeroya (arm), etc.
In the Book of Hosea the Prophet is told to take a woman named Gomer.
The woman has the same name as the Cimmerians. The three children begat by Hosea through Gomer have names representing the Lost Ten Tribes in their places of Exile.
The firstborn was a son named Jezreel. We are told that Jezreel is so named after the Town and Valley of Jezreel (1:4). This had been the scene of bloodshed for which Divine Retribution needed to be taken! This however was only a Prototypical Prophecy. The real significance of Jezreel shall be revealed in the future.
After Jezreel came a daughter named "Lo-Ruchama" whose names means "Not Be Shown Mercy" "for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel nor forgive them" (Hosea 1:6).
The third child was another boy who was named "Lo-Ami" whose name means "Not My People":
9 Then the Lord said, "Name him Lo-ammi,* for you are not my people and I am not your God."
In the end times "in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people', it shall be said to them, 'Children of the living God' " (Hosea 1:10).
11The people of Judah and the people of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head; and they shall take possession of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
The name Jezereel will not be changed but rather receive the connotation of ingathering instead of scattering, being cast out".
The name Jezreel in Hebrew may connote both "Scattered by God" or "Ingathered by God".
The name Jezreel is pronounced as "YiZ-Ra-EL".
The suffix "-El" means God. It may be put aside for the moment since such names in foreign tongues often had the theophonic (God) part omitted.
That leaves us with "YiZ-Ra" where the vowels "a" and "i" have no connection to the meaning. Hebrew concentrates on the consonants.
The "Yi-" part of "YiZ-Ra" represents the third person singular meaning "he will".
That leaves us with ZeR. The Hebrew Name Yizrael (Jezreel) has as its base the name "ZeR".
This is the same name the Assyrians used for the Cimmerians i.e. for Gomer.
Jezreel (i.e. ZeR) the son of Gomer (and Hosea) represents the Israelite Exiles from the Ten Tribes who were also identified as Gomer and ZeR.
They had the same names!