Yerach, Yericho (Jericho)


Genesis 10:26 names Yerach (ירח) as an Arabian tribe out of Yoktan (יקטן) a descendant of Shem; they lived near the Red Sea in the region of Eilat.

Yerach = "a month" in Chaldean, giving us the root of the moon-link of this word. In Hebrew Yareyach (ירח) is one of several words for "the moon", and indeed the word for month - Chodesh/חדש - should really be Yerach Chadash (ירח חדש), because Chadash, whence Chodesh, means new (or more precisely "renewal"; and in this context the distinction is significant), and the Hebrew month begins with the new moon.

Joshua 6 tells the story of Yehoshu'a (Joshua's) conquest of the city of Yericho (יריחו), for which there is absolutely no archaeological evidence whatsoever. The Masoretic pointing wants to name it Yericho, though there is also Yereycho ( יְרֵחוֹ) in Numbers 22;1; probably the ancient pronunciation of the town was Yareyacho, and it evolved via Yereycho to Yericho. The city is located in Beney Yamin (Benjamite) territory and by whatever pronunciation the name means "city of the moon".

Archaeologists have shown Jericho to be a multi-layered tel, whose earliest strata belong to the 9th millennium BCE, thus making it one of the oldest of all the cities built by men, as old as Ur and Charan, the other two major centres of moon-worship in the ancient world (a triple-shrine indeed, as Mecca, Medina and Yerushalayim are to Moslems; and very much places of ancient pilgrimage, which may not be irrelevant when we consider the journey of Av-Ram, [if] when he fled the ruins of Ur. That he should have gone to Charan, and thence travelled south to settle in the valleys around Yericho, cannot be purely coincidental).

1 Chronicles 5:14 names Yaro'ach (יָרוֹחַ) as one of the ancestors of Ever and his six siblings; one of the great namings in the Tanach: Avi-Chayil ben Churi ben Yaro'ach, ben Gil'ad ben Micha-El ben Yeshishai, אֲבִיחַיִל בֶּן-חוּרִי בֶּן-יָרוֹחַ בֶּן-גִּלְעָד בֶּן-מִיכָאֵל בֶּן-יְשִׁישַׁי.

Yerach-Me-El (ירחמאל) occurs in 1 Chronicles 2:9 ff and 24:29Jeremiah 36:26 and 1 Samuel 27:10; the tribe of Jerahmelites, at least in most English versions.

Similar names include Yerocham (ירחם), which occurs in 1 Samuel 1:1; 1 Chronicles 9:12 and 27:22; 2 Chronicles 23:1 and Nehemiah 11:12, though it is not certain that the name is connected to Yerach; it may be from the root Racham (רחם) = "mercy". 

In 1 Samuel 1:1 he is the father of El-Kanah ( אֶלְקָנָה ), and the father-in-law of Chanah (חַנָּה - Hannah), the parents of the prophet Shmu-El (שְׁמוּאֵל - Samuel); the genealogy here is long, and traces back to Ephrayim, and interestingly includes a man named Tohu - who on Earth names their child after the demi-god of primordial chaos!? In Ramatayim-Tsophim, "the hills overflowing with honey". And with a Tsuph (צוף - "honey") ancestor as well, and another who was Eli-Hu (אֱלִיהוּא) with a conveniently Aramaic aleph (א) appended (but badly, there is no accompanying nikud) to disguise his god-name - always so much more to these texts than meets the eye. And this a tale that specifically honours the goddess of fertility - "And he had two wives: the name of the one was Chanah, and the name of the other Peninah; and Peninah had children, but Chanah had no children" (verse 2), the goddess of menstruation, the moon.

1 Chronicles 9:8 likewise provides a lengthy genealogy, this time listing the Beney Yamin (Benjamites) who were carried into captivity in Babylon: "and Yivne-Yah (יִבְנְיָה) the son of Yerocham, and Elah (אֵלָה) the son of Uzi (עֻזִּי - elsewhere in the Tanach rendered as Uzi-Yah/עֻזִּיה), the son of Michri (מִכְרִי), and Meshulam (מְשֻׁלָּם) the son of Shephat-Yah (שְׁפַטְיָה), the son of Re'u-El (רְעוּאֵל), the son of Yivne-Yah..." Several names suffixed by the name of the moon-goddess Yah... 

1 Chronicles 9:12 then does the same for a third Yerocham, this time in the list of the Beney Levi: "and Ada-Yah (עֲדָיָה) the son of Yerocham, the son of Pashchur (פַּשְׁחוּר), the son of Malchi-Yah (מַלְכִּיָּה), and Ma'sai (מַעְשַׂי) the son of Adi-El (עֲדִיאֵל ), the son of Yah-Zerah (יַחְזֵרָה), the son of Meshulam (מְשֻׁלָּם), the son of Meshilemit (מְשִׁלֵּמִית), the son of Immer (אִמֵּר)..." More Yah-names, and even one that is self-evidently a woman's name, Meshilemit being the feminine form of Meshulam.

1 Chronicles 27:22 has Azar-El (עֲזַרְאֵל - "El's helper") the son of Yerocham as one of the captains of the tribe of Dan. By no coincidence in the context of our explanation, that chapter begins by informing us of a system by which "The children of Yisra-El after their number, to wit, the heads of fathers' houses and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and their officers that served the king, in any matter of the courses which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand." A monthly cycle. Because this is the base for all things Hebrew, or now Jewish. A lunar calendar. Because the deity of Creation works only by day, and then it is evening, and then morning, another day, and between those two, the period in which life is ruled by the goddess...

The modern city of Yerucham (יְרוּחָם), sometimes written in English as Yeruham, but definitely pronounced Yerucham in Ivrit and not Yerocham, even though it is spelled identically, was founded as a development town in the years since Israeli independence, and is believed to be on the site of an ancient town bearing the same name, and known by archaeologists as Tell Rachma (the Rachma again suggesting "racham = mercy" rather than "yerach = moon"; certainly it takes its name from the Biblical Yerucham. The town appears on the lists of cities conquered by Pharaoh Shishak, around the time of King Shlomo (Solomon), and is believed to have been the town close to the well where Hagar found shelter with Yishma-El (Genesis 21), though there is no evidence beyond folk-lore to support this claim, and its location, twenty-two miles south of Be'er Sheva, makes it unlikely.

2 Chronicles 23:1 describes the coup by Yeho-Yada (יְהוֹיָדָע - probably the original was Yahu-Yada), which was presumably staged at the time that it was in order to prevent the current sacred ruler from breaking the tradition of single-cycle kingship by forcing a second seven-year cycle - an interesting example to be explored by those who have begun to refute the theories of Frazer in "The Golden Bough" and Campbell in "The Masks of God". "And in the seventh year Yeho-Yada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azar-Yahu (עֲזַרְיָהוּ ) the son of Yerocham (יְרֹחָם), and Yishma-El (יִשְׁמָעֵאל) the son of Yeho-Chanan (יְהוֹחָנָן), and Azar-Yahu (עֲזַרְיָהוּ) the son of Oved (עוֹבֵד), and Ma'asey-Yahu (מַעֲשֵׂיָהוּ ) the son of Ada-Yahu (עֲדָיָהוּ), and Eli-Shaphat (אֱלִישָׁפָט) the son of Zichri (זִכְרִי), into covenant with him..."

But I have been naughty, and perhaps my use of the word "ruler" rather than "king" alerted you. Go back to the previous chapter of Chronicles. The ruler for those six years was Atal-Yah (עֲתַלְיָה), a queen, the mother of king Achaz-Yah (אֲחַזְיָהוּ) who "also walked in the ways of the house of Achav (Ahab); for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly" (22:3), and who joined with Achav and I-Zevel (Jezebel) in war against the Beney Aram, and was murdered when the house of Achav was overthrown; and then his mother wiped out the entire house of Yehudah and took the throne herself...

And why am I telling all this? Because, just like the tale of Yehoshu'a's conquest of Yericho, these are the ancient tales of the battles between the sun and moon, told in the Philistine versions as Samson and Delilah, but reduced to fake history by the Redactor so that monotheism can be presented as though it always was, and the moon goddess expurgated... but look at all the Yah names...

Nehemiah 11:12 lists the princes and priests at the time of the return to Yerushalayim, and again look at the names...

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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