Biblical Paleoarcheology

They Came from the East

Article #6
During my college years, I read Genesis 11:2, "as they journeyed from the east", and tried to figure out how the Ark could have landed on Mount Ararat and the people could have come from the East to Shinar/Sumer and build Babel. Mt. Ararat is to the north of Sumer, not the east. Is that a mistake that makes us question the Bible? Evangelical Christians believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, which means that every supposed error must be investigated. Revelation from God should be historically and scientifically accurate.

Some Biblical scholars and numerous Bible translations feel they need to substitute "eastward" for "from the east", even though there is a Hebrew preposition min, which means "from". But it doesn't help the matter to say they came from the west, since all we find to the west is the Arabian Desert. It would be more fitting to find a migration route from the Ark in the Mountains of Ararat to Eridu, which is Babel by way of the Zagros Mountains. Archeology can help us fill in the details of the migration route followed by Cush and Nimrod, the descendants of Ham.

 

If the Bible is true, which we believe it is, we should find settlements in Iran that preceded Eridu. We actually do. The archeologist Frank Hole has analyzed the earliest settlements in Iran and the Zagros Mountains and lists Ganj Dareh, Deh Luran, Susa, and Ali Kosh as small settlements that existed just before Eridu was founded and continued to grow and share culture with it. These indicate a migration from the Ararat down the eastern Zagros Mountains. The Fertile Crescent is shown in blue on the map. The Fertile Crescent is the area that had the earliest settlements, where people raised sheep, goats, wheat, and barley.

From the Mountains of Ararat, the children of Noah only had two directions they could migrate because of the Black Sea and Caucasus Mountains to the north and other mountains to the south. They could go west along the Euphrates River or east by way of Lake Urmia. Both took them to the Fertile Crescent where the oldest farming villages are found. We have a general idea about how the three sons of Noah dispersed in many directions and formed the nations. Only a portion of the population would have ended up at Eridu, since settlements have been excavated in all directions from the landing place of the Ark. Nimrod is the only person in the Bible we know to be associated with Eridu and Uruk. He did not necessarily found the cities, but he did govern them at one point (Genesis 10:10). Based on the opinions of archeologists who have examined sites in the Near East, those who founded Babel came from the East.
 
Christians don't need archeological proof to believe the Bible, but it does help us to visualize it. Many people visit Israel because it inspires them to see the actual places where Jesus walked. Others visit the Aegean Sea to learn about Paul. Now, we can get closer to Noah and his children and follow their paths.

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