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The Book of Proverbs Copycats

By Edited Aug 17, 2016 5 12

Wisdom Older Than The Bible

Proverbs True Inspiration

Who's on First?

Is Difficult to Copy From Something That Was Not There

The discovery of the city of Ebla in northern Syria not only questions the Bible both as a historical reference but raises an issue of plagiarism.

During 1964-1975 a series of archaeological excavations in northern Syria debunked the Bible chronology.  It established the new year for early civilizations in the area at ca. 4500BCE. 

Although the city of Ebla is estimated from 4500BCE, it flourished between 2000 and 1700 BCE, the era of King Hammurabi of Babylon.  Ebla had an acropolis and temples dedicated to different divinities.  They were not Hebrews, they were Pagans.  And in the site archaeologists found new reference to Abraham, Noah, Ur or Uruk centuries before the reported date the Book of Proverbs was compiled or written.

Earliest accounts for the Bible Book of Proverbs are between the tenth and sixth century BCE.  Yet during the 70s epigraphist Giovanni Pettinato and archaeologist Paolo Matthiae unearthed clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform writings containing almost the exact texts of what centuries later became the book of Genesis, the Book of Proverbs, the Great Flood, the Book of Psalms and many segments from the Old Testament, including the Book of Kings and Revelations.  One of the main differences between the original accounts and those found in the Bible are the references to deities.

(Stories of Baal and Anat)

“Listen to me, Mighty Baal,

Hear me out, Rider of the Clouds,   (Ps 68:4)

Now is the time for you to strike,

Slay your enemies, and eliminate your rivals.   (Ps. 92:9)

Now is the time to found an everlasting kingdom,  (2 Sam 7:13)

Establish your dominion throughout all generations.”  (Ps 145:13)

Proverbs from The Bible 1st th century, by its earliest account.  Proverbs from Syria 2400BCE.  “There can be no question that wisdom literature had a very early origin in the history of Egypt, going back to the Sixth Dynasty (ca. 2500BCE).

Baal, portrayed as a demonic god in the Bible, is described as ruler of the universe in the eblaic tablets.  The source of life and fertility, the mightiest hero, the lord of war and defeater of the god Yam.  In the Psalms Yahweh in sometimes depicted as Baal.  Baal is on Mount Zaphon (Zion), in Canaanite mythology. 

The City of Ebla: Home of the Original Proverbs

The archaeological site was a magnificent empire that extended 56 hectares or 140 acres.  The city protected by 60 meters thick ramparts.  The city held 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants, which was pretty high at the time.

Christian ministers and leaders now proclaim that the king of Ebla was ascendant of Abraham, seeking to match the new found genealogy with the one in the Bible. Hebrew and Egyptian cultures shared circumstances folk wisdom and comparable situations but not necessarily the same origin.

Amemenope “Give your ears, listen to the things which are spoken.  Give your mind to interpret them”   (Found in Proverbs 1:1-7, 3:1, 4:1-2, 10:20, 5:1, 7:1-3) Also found in others books of Wisdom, like Psalm 78:1 “Give ear, O my people, to my law.  Incline your ears to the word of my mouth”.

In 1700BCE Sumerian proverbs, from Nippur and Ur, two collections of 200 and 165 proverbs are found “strikingly similar” to Proverbs 10:1, 22-16, 25:1-29:27.  Same account with an Assyrian collection of proverbs “Instructions of Shurupak”, found in 1500-1200 BCE,  and other Egyptians instructions comparable in structure, rhythm and form to Proverbs 1:2, 9:18, 22:17, 24:34.

Syria archaeologically proves its place as one of the earliest civilizations in northeast Africa.  God’s name YHVH is identified circa 2900BCE as the protoindo European god Yayash, Yaë or Yave, a protective god whose symbol was a tree.  A protective god, identified with the Turki Syrian YHVH. If it appeared first in 2900BCE how come those coming later call them copycats?  The wisdom of the Book of Proverbs existed before the Hebrews emerged around 2010BCE.

The poetic form, and the use of parallelism are among the many resemblances in the “thought rhymes” as the Proverbs are also refered.

Some Non-Proverbial Findings

In regards to differences, there are some proverbs not included in the Book of proverbs but found in the Sumerian account:

“You be the man, I will be the woman”

“A mother of eight young men, who is still capable of bearing, lies down passively”.

“A thing which has not occurred since time  immemorial: a young girl broke wind in her husband bosom”.

The Bible Book of Proverbs exempted accounts like the above, but freely brought in material from different sources.

“Take no word away, add nothing thereto and put not one thing in place of another” -Agur’s admonition.

“Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to these words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar”.- Proverbs 30:5-6

Teaching of Ani

“Do not refuse your hand to one whom you do not know who comes to you in mortal poverty.”

Proverbs 3:27

Withhold not good from them to whom is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”

Topics are Not Only too Similar but in the Same Order

Topics like Control over woman, Family, Beware of strange women and others are in both tablets and the Bible in almost exact order.

The Egyptians instructions were normally addressed from father to sons.  The Book of Proverbs is noted for his many references to “listen, my son”.  Same goes for specific advice in front of dignitaries and royalty.  Those 150,000 tablets and more fragments found included instructions and exercises filled out by students who were trained to become civil servants.

The Egyptian term for wisdom is Ma’at, the order, the essence of existence, whether we recognize it or not.  Wisdom is God’s fixed order for Life. 

The context or historical background of the Book of Proverbs is that they were written or compiled by King Solomon as the true wisdom of the Hebrew God.  Does wisdom have anything to do with religion? Is wisdom exclusive of or granted to those that uphold specific beliefs or follow certain practices?

How can a civilization that was in place by 4000BCE have copied the sayings of another that arrive by 2010BCE?  The accounts of Genesis, Abraham, Moses, Noah, and even Samson, appear in these tablets way before Hebrew started to think of compiling or being inspired to write the Bible.

According to Infoplease, the Bible has 50 authors and has been translated into 180 languages and is available in about 40 versions.  The newest version of the Bible, the New American Bible, released on March 11, 2011, includes the word ‘booty’ “to reflect a more modern meaning”, to later dump the term.

One of many References on Ebla Archaeological Findings
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Comments

Apr 3, 2012 12:17am
vicdillinger
Good for you -- I know when Yahweh and Baal had to "duke it out", Yahweh won. It could have just as easily gone the other way, and people so inclined to believe in gods would be praising Baal’s name instead.

The literary material in the Bible is quite interesting, especially when it is traced back to its true source material (as in the "Epic of Gilgamesh" for the Noah Flood story, for example). Great read. A thumb.
Apr 3, 2012 2:54am
JadeDragon
No one said that Proverbs was an original work. It reads much more like a collection of sayings, some of which might be very old.

Most of the quoted material are just sentences that could be easily thought up independently - and may not even be connected many years apart and in different languages.

The concept of plagiarizing something definitely did not exist thousands of years ago. All books were copied by scribes until the invention of the press.
Apr 3, 2012 11:01am
CrazyGata
Thank you very much Vic. Dear Jade, the first words in the book of Proverbs credit them to Solomon.

Thank you very much for your comments, I have been under the water lately, and this is an off-topic comment, thinking a bit about what Vic said about having people burning out (or something like that). Jade, I also think about your posts in regards to views. Like I said, an off-topic comment that should look better under an end of month report, but well, is Spring Break.

Again thank you very much. Have a nice week.
Apr 3, 2012 12:05pm
WebAddict
This is intriguing. Sort of like The Da Vinci Code feel to it. Weird.
Apr 3, 2012 2:53pm
bikesbikesbikes
Solomon had his 'ups and downs' with Yahweh throughout his life. There were numerous times when he started worshipping other gods like Astarte, only to repent and switch back. It wouldn't surprise me if his writings reflected his worship of other gods as well as Yahweh. I don't think it 'debunks' bible chronology because, like Jade mentions, they didn't exactly worry about proper citation back then!
Anyway, excellent article. You definitely did some heavy research here!
Apr 3, 2012 6:11pm
CrazyGata
Archaeological findings date the Book of Proverbs, as well as other traditionally known as "Biblical" stories ca 4500BCE. The Hebrews did not appear as a culture until 1BCE, King Solomon included. The research and references below were absolutely necessary in order to ensure the truth keeps setting us free. Thank you very much bikesbikesbikes and WebAddict for posting and reading!
Apr 4, 2012 1:27am
hillloyd
Ms. Gata,
Glad to see you'e back. Nevertheless...
I don't know if it's a misprint on your part but to state that Hebrew culture did not appear before 1 BCE (1BC) is simply incorrect. Jewish history is reliably dated to before 1500 B.C. Jesus himself, a Jew, was born 25-30 years before 1 B.C. The entire nomenclature is based on his life.
Apr 4, 2012 10:05am
CrazyGata
You are absolutely correct. I actually reread my article here to see where did I get this from. Not even the article states this and I quote (under "City of Ebla" next to last paragraph: "The wisdom of the Book of Proverbs existed before the Hebrews emerged around 2010BCE".

Still trying to pick my brain, maybe is somewhere lost in my third cup of coffee.

So, again, duly noted. Thank you for waking me up! To the readers, no harm intended. Your post is appreciated.

Now, about when Jesus was born... Well, maybe that could spark in me another post since I digress there. Most references state it as 4BCE, or 400 years before his original "official" year of birth. There is more to his birth. Thanks again.
Apr 6, 2012 5:10am
JadeDragon
The best evidence seems to suggest now that Jesus was born around 4 BC about 4 years before the start of AD - ie the current count on years since Jesus birth might be off by about 4 years, give or take a little.

Jesus is a historical person even if you do not choose to follow him. There is more evidence for his birth, life, death and resurrection than there if for the existence of most historical people from 2000+ years ago.
Apr 6, 2012 9:44am
CrazyGata
I agree that Jesus existed JadeDragon, on or about the time you stated. Obviously I am not able to manage the keyboard any further. Of course is four years.
Apr 7, 2012 9:20am
CRRookwood
Wow, awesome hub. I really enjoyed this. I think sometimes people misunderstand how ideas spread before newspapers and such. To me, it is fascinating that this material is so old and that so much of pagan culture and thought was incorporated into the Bible. Thank you for your efforts in writing this! Thumbs up. :)
Apr 7, 2012 9:55pm
footloose
So, the old words, "Nothing is new" ... may be appropriate here. I love the trail of research, and have also delved into this. Good work.
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Bibliography

  1. H.J. Cadbury The Journal of Religion. Chicago: Illinois, 1929.
  2. Marian Hiller An Egyptian Contribution to the Book of Proverbs. Chicago: Illinois, ca..
  3. John Ruffle The Teachings of Amenemope and Its will Connection with the Book of Proverbs. Tyndale Bulletin: The Tyndale Biblical Archaeology Lecture, 1975.
  4. Bruce K. Waltke The Book of Proverbs and Ancient Wisdom. Dallas Theological Seminary: Bibliotheca Serra, 1979.
  5. William Sanford LaSor Further Information about Tell Mardikh. --: --, --.
  6. Paolo Matthiae A Lost Metropolis of 4000 Years Ago Discovered in Syria. UNESCO: The UNESCO Courier, 1977.
  7. Mark S. Smith The Early History: History and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (Second Edition). Dearborn, Michigan: Dove Booksellers, 2002.

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