Posted on: June 21, 2012
Each week I’m going to go through the Tanakh, page by page until I come to a land mass, mention of a land, or mention of a geographical feature. I’ll search the interwebs for the modern-day location of said place and we’ll, together, try to paint a picture of what early Jews looked like.
This would be a GREAT exercise for Hebrew Day schools or synagogues.
Bere’shit or in English, Genesis Chapters 1-10
“Cain left the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”- Bere’shit 4:16
“The evidence suggests that Cain’s father-in-law Enoch lived in what is today northeastern Nigeria. Not surprisingly there are places in Nigeria that reference both Kain and Nok. Kano is a major city and Nok is both a prehistoric site and a recognized cultural sphere of influence. The Nok civilization is dated to about 1200 years ago but has earlier antecedents as evidenced by discoveries in an “increasingly larger area” of Nok influence that includes the Middle Niger Valley and the Lower Benue Valley.”- Just Genisis
“so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” Bere’shit 8:4
“In Syrian tradition, as well as in Quranic tradition, the specific summit of the “Mountains of Ararat” where Noah’s ark landed is identified as Mount Judi in what is today Şırnak Province, Southeastern Anatolia Region, Turkey. In the Armenian tradition and Western Christianity, based on Jerome‘s reading of Josephus, the mountain became associated with Mount Masis (now known as Mount Ararat) the highest peak of the Armenian Highland, located in present day Turkey.”-Wikipedia
“The mainstays of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Accad, and Calnec in the land of Shinar.”-Bere’shit 10:10
“Erech, Sumerian Uruk, Greek Orchoë, modern Tall al-Warkāʾ, ancient Mesopotamian city located northwest of Ur (Tall Al-Muqayyar) in southeastern Iraq.”-Encyclopedia Britannica
“In the past, many have argued with me about the true location of the land of Shinar. I, among a majority of scholars in the same field, have identified this to mean the land of Sumer. While the Sumerians themselves called their land ki-en-gir (“place of the civilized lords”), the name Sumer is derived from the Akkadian Shumer. Shinar is simply a Hebrew corruption of the Akkadian word. It literally translates to “country of two rivers” which could only mean the Tigris and Euphrates when taking into account the cities mentioned above. Erech/Uruk, Akkad/Agade, and Babylon 1 existed nowhere else but the land of Shinar. In times past, early rulers used to differentiate the lands between Sumer and Akkad when boasting of their achievements, making the one the southern kingdom (Sumer) and the other the northern kingdom (Akkad).”-Peter Koutoupis
So far we have Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, settling in a place close to modern-day Nigeria-West Central Africa and we end with descendants of Noah in Babylon which is roughly near modern day Baghdad. We’ve walked over 12,563 miles! and depending on the route we passed through at least 3 African countries or taken a trip through the southern part of Spain, Italy and Greece. In Torah people live to be 900 years or older and Gd has already wiped out all life on the globe and we spent all that time rocking on an ark for a few months. That probably helped help us with that migration. ;)
© Erika K. Davis