Aaron, Moses & the god Haurun
H. Abdul Al-Dahir
The construction of biblical narratives follows a literary motif or pattern of character comparisons, parallels and reversals. For instance, the narratives regarding Jesus parallels the biblical narratives regarding Moses. In other words the gospel authors made an attempt to write the story of Jesus as an up-dated version of the story of Moses because they were attempting to prove that Jesus was the second coming of Moses. According to Acts 3:22, which references Deut 18:15-19:
“22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.”
Here are a few of the parallels the gospel authors attributed to Jesus but originated in the story of Moses:
- Both Moses and Jesus were born while their people were dominated by foreign occupiers.
- Moses’ sister was Miriam and Jesus mother was Miriam. Both women were rebuked. Miriam was rebuked by Yhwh and became a leper and Jesus rebuked his mother at the Wedding feast at Cana.
- Both Pharaoh and Herod massacred Hebrew infants.
- Moses fled Egypt to escape Pharaoh’s wrath and Jesus fled into Egypt as an infant to escape Herod’s wrath. (This is a reversal)
- Moses cursed pharaoh and Jesus cursed the temple authority because they co-operated with the Roman occupiers.
- Both Moses and Jesus were miracle workers.
- Both Moses and Jesus brought a new law to the Israelites/Judeans. (Jesus brought a new covenant which altered the law).
- Both Moses and Jesus were Levites. Jesus was a Levite on his distaff side. Since, he did not have a biological father, Jesus was a full Levite. Like Moses, Jesus’ mother came from a priestly line. Jesus’ adoptive father was from the tribe of Judah.
- Both were priests, prophets and lawgivers.
- Both did not live to see their mission accomplished. Moses never entered Canaan and Jesus never saw temple reform or the expulsion of the Romans and their collaborators, the Herodian Dynasty.
There are a lot more parallels but the above should suffice to convince everybody that biblical narratives often have a comparative structure which includes parallels and reversals. The Genesis story of Qyn and Abel appears to be a parallel and reversal narrative which is built on the story of Moses and Aaron. Moses was originally a Qynite prophet, priest and miracle worker and Aaron (Ahrown in Hebrew and Haroun in Arabic) appears to have originated as the Canaanite god Haurun. Haurun, whose title was ‘the victorious herdsman’, was a Canaanite deity that dates prior to 1900 BCE. He was brought to Egypt during the New Kingdom or between 1600 and 1100 BCE where Canaanites dedicated a temple to him, which implies he had an established priesthood. So, Haraun was originally a god of herdsmen.
As for Moses, the biblical narrative indicates that he was a Levite, a word which means to twist, to coil and refers to serpents and dragons or leviathans (the monster sea dragon in the Book of Job) in Hebrew. Yhwh was a serpent cult as I have demonstrated previously. This cult appears to have originated in the copper mines of Timna and Punon as a copper serpent was located inside the remnants of a Timna tent shrine. The Bedouin who worked these mines were known as Qynites; a word which is derived from the Egyptian word qnqn which means to flatten metal with a mallet. (Metals as copper and gold were often hammered into shape). The name Mosheh (Moses’ name in Hebrew) utimately derived from the Sumerian lexicon which was adopted into the Babylonian vocabulary. The word ‘mush’ which means ‘snake’ in Babylonian and Sumerian. The word ‘mush’ was extrapolated to mean ‘face’ as well as ‘glisten and shine’. Both words are referenced in the Bible which has Moses forging the nechushtan or copper snake (Num 21:8) as well as having a shining face (Ex 34:30).
The word mush was further extrapolated to mushshesh which means ‘to anoint’. This word came into Akkadian as masû, into Hebrew as mashach and into Arabic as masaha. According to Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Dictionary, the Hebrew name for Moses, Moshe,h means ‘draw out (of water)’. However, this interpretation seems to have evolved to match the narration of Moses being rescued from the Nile; a scene which was borrowed from the birth narrative of Sargon of Akkad. The Hebrews learned of this 7th Century BCE Assyrian story while they were in Babylon. So, the original meaning of Moses’ name was some form of Sumerian based word meaning snake, face, shine and to anoint. His profession as a metal smith or Qynite is confirmed in Num 21:8.
Prophets, priests and kings were anointed in the Ancient Near East. The Qynite cult of Yh/Yhh/Yhw/Yhwh included anointing rituals. It is in one of these rituals that the Canaanite worshipers of the god Haurun (Ahrown), were inducted into the Qynite cult of Yhwh. Haurun had been accepted into the Egyptian pantheon between the years 1600-1100 BCE. Haurun was known as the ‘victorious herdsman’ which might explain Ahrown/Aaron’s golden calf. (The word herdsman indicates that Haurun was associated with cattle and not sheep as he was not a shepherd). The bull was El’s sacred animal and this animal may also have been Haurun’s sacred animal.
In Egypt herdsmen were probably of the lowest caste. Some of Joseph’s brethren were made rulers over Pharaoh’s cattle ( Genesis 47:6 Genesis 47:17 ). (According to the Bible), (t)he Israelites were known in Egypt as “keepers of cattle;” and when they left it they took their flocks and herds with them ( Exodus 12:38 ). Both David and Saul came from “following the herd” to occupy the throne ( 1 Samuel 9 ; 11:5 ; Psalms 78:70 ). David’s herd-masters were among his chief officers of state. The daughters also of wealthy chiefs were wont to tend the flocks of the family ( Genesis 29:9 ; Exodus 2:16 ). The “chief of the herdsmen” was in the time of the monarchy an officer of high rank ( 1 Samuel 21:7 ; Compare 1 Chronicles 27:29 ). The herdsmen lived in tents ( Isaiah 38:12 ; Jeremiah 6:3 ); and there were folds for the cattle ( Numbers 32:16 ), and watch-towers for the herdsmen, that he might therefrom observe any coming danger ( Micah 4:8 ; Nahum 3:8 ).
So, the Canaanite/Egyptian god Ahrown/Haurun, the cattle herder, was inducted into the Qynite cult as a high priest. The cult of Haurun was very likely introduced into Edom by Bedouin merchants or suppliers who brought the cult of Haurun with them from Egypt into the mines at Timna and Punon where the miners and forgers or Qynites (meaning smiths) worked. Thus, Exodus 32:4 has Aaron forging the golden calf in the middle of a desert where there was no fuel to be found to supply a forge with enough heat to liquify metal. The original story was that Aaron hammered into shape the golden calf with which he was associated as the victorious herdsman.
So, Aaron is the original herdsman and Moses is the original metal smith or qyn (Cain). In other words, Aaron (Haurun) = Abel (Ibil or herder of camels) and Moses = Qyn (Cain) the metal smith. In the Genesis story, Qyn kills Abel or the smith kills the cattle herder. This scene describes the conflict between the Bedouin herders who depended on brush to feed their animals and the Qynites or copper miners who burned the brush to smelt copper ore. The Qynites or miners won the battle for the control of the territory surrounding the copper mines probably with the aid of the Egyptians who occupied the area and exploited the mines.
Moses was a Qynite hero who led an early revolt against the Egyptian occupiers. He appears to have fled south, deeper into Edom, accompanied by his followers, who were members of the Qynite/Midianite tribal confederation. It was at this time these revolutionaries became a tribal confederation known as Judah. Judah eventually revolted against the Edomite tribal confederation and travelled north after the Egyptians abandoned Timna. (This story is told in I & II Samuel where David revolts against Saul, an Edomite king adopted into Hebrew tribal lore.). In the north, the Judah tribal confederation founded the kingdom of Judah. Eventually, Judah was overrun by the Israelites fleeing the Assyrians and the kingdom became a vassal of Assyria. Assyria was defeated by the Babylonians who enslaved the Judeans. Babylon was defeated by the aniconic monotheist, Cyrus II, and the Judeans returned to Judah as an aniconic, monotheistic cult in which the forging and worship of idols was taboo. The Qynite lineage was erased by Hebrew narrators except for the god of the forge Qynn, who remained as a Hebrew patriarch (Gen 5:9). Qyn became a miscreant outcaste who survived and Abel became a dead hero.
The Genesis narrative of Qyn and Abel is a metaphor for the original Moses-Aaron narrative in which Moses, the Qynite, became a high priest and his brother, the cattle herder, Haurun or Aaron retained a lower status. This narrative was changed after the adoption of Persian aniconic monotheism so that Moses, the Qynite priest, rebuked his brother Ahrown, originally a cattle herder turned forger of idols, for practicing the art of the Qynites. In the Genesis narrative, Yhwh rebukes Qyn (a slave of the red earth (abd adamah in Hebrew or miner), which causes Qyn (Cain) to kill the cattle herder, Abel, whose animal offering was acceptable to Yhwh.
In the Moses narrative, Yhwh grants the status of high priest to Aaron (the cattle herder) and his descendants, while Moses (the Qynite) loses his status as high priest as well as his lineage which dies out. Moses becomes the outcaste, who is not allowed to enter Canaan while Aaron becomes the patriarch of the Levitical priesthood.
In the Genesis narrative, Abel dies before he begets sons, but he is replaced by Seth (Sheth or appointed by God in the sense of anointed by God) who takes over Abel’s role as the patriarch of herdsmen or the role with which the post Babylonian exiles or Judeans identified under Persian influence. This scenario is a retelling of the appointment of Aaron and the abandonment of Moses or the rise of the victorious herdsman (Haurun/Aaron) over the idol forging Qynite priest, Moses, who retained his status as a tribal hero and lawgiver, but, who ultimately displeased Yhwh lost his lineage and was forbidden to enjoy the fruits of his victory over Pharaoh. The Hebrews believed that the soul was in the blood, so that in order to survive death, one had to produce offspring who carried forward the soul of their patriarchs. Qyn’s lineage survived and Abel’s lineage perished with his death, so this part of the story is a reversal as Moses’ lineage perished but Aarons lineage survived.
This narrative is one of many narratives that follow a biblical pattern of literary motifs involving character comparisons, parallels and reversals to other narratives or historical events in which the Judeans were involved.