Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 45

[48:2] Exodus ii. 24, 25.

[48:4] Exodus ii. 12.

[48:5] The Egyptian name for God was "Nuk-Pa-Nuk," or "I am that I am." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 395.) This name was found on a temple in Egypt. (Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 17.) "'I am' was a Divine name understood by all the initiated among the Egyptians." "The 'I am' of the Hebrews, and the 'I am' of the Egyptians are identical." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 38.) The name "Jehovah," which was adopted by the Hebrews, was a name esteemed sacred among the Egyptians. They called it Y-ha-ho, or Y-ah-weh. (See the Religion of Israel, pp. 42, 43; and Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 329, and vol. ii. p. 17.) "None dare to enter the temple of Serapis, who did not bear on his breast or forehead the name of Jao, or J-ha-ho, a name almost equivalent in sound to that of the Hebrew Jehovah, and probably of identical import; and no name was uttered in Egypt with more reverence than this Iao." (Trans. from the Ger. of Schiller, in Monthly Repos., vol. xx.; and Voltaire: Commentary on Exodus; Higgins' Anac., vol. i. p. 329; vol. ii. p. 17.) "That this divine name was well-known to the Heathen there can be no doubt." (Parkhurst: Hebrew Lex. in Anac., i. 327.) So also with the name El Shaddai. "The extremely common Egyptian expression Nutar Nutra exactly corresponds in sense to the Hebrew El Shaddai, the very title by which God tells Moses he was known to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." (Prof. Renouf: Relig. of Anc't Egypt, p. 99.)

[48:6] Exodus iii. 1, 14.

[49:1] Exodus iii. 15-18.

[49:2] Exodus iii. 19-22. Here is a command from the Lord to deceive, and lie, and steal, which, according to the narrative, was carried out to the letter (Ex. xii. 35, 36); and yet we are told that this same Lord said: "Thou shalt not steal." (Ex. xx. 15.) Again he says: "That shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him." (Leviticus xix. 18.) Surely this is inconsistency.

[49:3] Exodus iv. 19, 20.

[49:4] Exodus iv. 10.

[49:5] Exodus iv. 16.

[49:6] Exodus v. 3.

[50:1] Exodus vii. 35-37. Bishop Colenso shows, in his Pentateuch Examined, how ridiculous this statement is.

[50:2] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.

[50:3] "The sea over which Moses stretches out his hand with the staff, and which he divides, so that the waters stand up on either side like walls while he passes through, must surely have been originally the Sea of Clouds. . . . A German story presents a perfectly similar feature. The conception of the cloud as sea, rock and wall, recurs very frequently in mythology." (Prof. Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 429.)

[51:1] Exodus xiv. 5-13.

[51:2] Orpheus is said to have been the earliest poet of Greece, where he first introduced the rites of Bacchus, which he brought from Egypt. (See Roman Antiquities, p. 134.)

[51:3] The Hebrew fable writers not wishing to be outdone, have made the waters of the river Jordan to be divided to let Elijah and Elisha pass through (2 Kings ii. 8), and also the children of Israel. (Joshua iii. 15-17.)

[51:4] Moses, with his rod, drew water from the rock. (Exodus xvii. 6.)

[51:5] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[51:6] The Legend of Samson, p. 429.

[51:7] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 135.

[51:8] Vol. i. p. 122.

[52:1] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122; and Higgins: Anacalypsis vol. ii. p. 19.

[52:2] Ibid. and Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 174.

[52:3] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 190; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and Higgins: Anacalypsis ii. 19.

[52:4] Exodus ii. 1-11.

[52:5] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and Higgins: p. 19, vol. ii.

[52:6] Exodus ii. 1-11.

[52:7] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.

[52:8] See Prichard's Historical Records, p. 74; also Dunlap's Spirit Hist., p. 40; and Cory's Ancient Fragments, pp. 80, 81, for similar accounts.

[52:9] "All persons afflicted with leprosy were considered displeasing in the sight of the Sun-god, by the Egyptians." (Dunlap: Spirit. Hist. p. 40.)

[52:10] Prichard's Historical Records, p. 75.

[52:11] Ibid. p. 78.

[53:1] Tacitus: Hist. book v. ch. iii.

[53:2] Knight: Anc't Art and Mythology, p. 89, and Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 447. "The cleanliness of the Egyptian priests was extreme. They shaved their heads, and every three days shaved their whole bodies. They bathed two or three times a day, often in the night also. They wore garments of white linen, deeming it more cleanly than cloth made from the hair of animals. If they had occasion to wear a woolen cloth or mantle, they put it off before entering a temple; so scrupulous were they that nothing impure should come into the presence of the gods." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, i. 168.)

"Thinking it better to be clean than handsome, the (Egyptian) priests shave their whole body every third day, that neither lice nor any other impurity may be found upon them when engaged in the service of the gods." (Herodotus: book ii. ch. 37.)

[54:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 27.

[54:2] Dunlap: Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 266.

[54:3] Hebrew Mythology, p. 23.

[54:4] Researches in Ancient History, p. 146.

[55:1] The Religion of Israel, pp. 31, 32.

[55:2] Jewish Antiq. bk. ii. ch. xvi.

[55:3] Ibid. note.

"It was said that the waters of the Pamphylian Sea miraculously opened a passage for the army of Alexander the Great. Admiral Beaufort, however, tells us that, 'though there are no tides in this part of the Mediterranean, considerable depression of the sea is caused by long-continued north winds; and Alexander, taking advantage of such a moment, may have dashed on without impediment;' and we accept the explanation as a matter of course. But the waters of the Red Sea are said to have miraculously opened a passage for the children of Israel; and we insist on the literal truth of this story, and reject natural explanations as monstrous." (Matthew Arnold.)

[56:1] See Prichard's Egyptian Mytho. p. 60.

[56:3] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 312.

[56:4] Analysis Relig. Belief, p. 552.

[56:5] See Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 140.

[56:6] In a cave discovered at Deir-el-Bahari (Aug., 1881), near Thebes, in Egypt, was found thirty-nine mummies of royal and priestly personages. Among these was King Ramses II., the third king of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and the veritable Pharaoh of the Jewish captivity. It is very strange that he should be here, among a number of other kings, if he had been lost in the Red Sea. The mummy is wrapped in rose-colored and yellow linen of a texture finer than the finest Indian muslin, upon which lotus flowers are strewn. It is in a perfect state of preservation. (See a Cairo [Aug. 8th] letter to the London Times.)

[57:1] Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 58.

[57:2] The Religion of Israel, p. 41.

[Pg 58]



The receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, from the Lord, is recorded in the following manner:

"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai, . . . and there Israel camped before the Mount. . . .

"And it came to pass on the third day that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the Mount, and the voice of the tempest exceedingly loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. . . .

"And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the tempest sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

"And the Lord came down upon the Mount, and called Moses up to the top of the Mount, and Moses went up."[58:1]

The Lord there communed with him, and "he gave unto Moses . . . . two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."[58:2]

When Moses came down from off the Mount, he found the children of Israel dancing around a golden calf, which his brother Aaron had made, and, as his "anger waxed hot," he cast the tables of stone on the ground, and broke them.[58:3] Moses again saw the Lord on the Mount, however, and received two more tables of stone.[58:4] When he came down this time from off Mount Sinai, "the skin of his face did shine."[58:5]

[Pg 59]

These two tables of stone contained the Ten Commandments,[59:1] so it is said, which the Jews and Christians of the present day are supposed to take for their standard.

They are, in substance, as follows:

1— To have no other God but Jehovah.
2— To make no image for purpose of worship.
3— Not to take Jehovah's name in vain.
4— Not to work on the Sabbath-day.
5— To honor their parents.
6— Not to kill.
7— Not to commit adultery.
8— Not to steal.
9— Not to bear false witness against a neighbor.
10— Not to covet.[59:2]

We have already seen, in the last chapter, that Bacchus was called the "Law-giver," and that his laws were written on two tables of stone.[59:3] This feature in the Hebrew legend was evidently copied from that related of Bacchus, but, the idea of his (Moses) receiving the commandments from the Lord on a mountain was obviously taken from the Persian legend related of Zoroaster.

Prof. Max Müller says:

"What applies to the religion of Moses applies to that of Zoroaster. It is placed before us as a complete system from the first, revealed by Ahuramazda (Ormuzd), proclaimed by Zoroaster."[59:4]

The disciples of Zoroaster, in their profusion of legends of the master, relate that one day, as he prayed on a high mountain, in the midst of thunders and lightnings ("fire from heaven"), the Lord himself appeared before him, and delivered unto him the "Book of the Law." While the King of Persia and the people were assembled together, Zoroaster came down from the mountain unharmed, bringing with him the "Book of the Law," which had been revealed to him by Ormuzd. They call this book the Zend-Avesta, which signifies the Living Word.[59:5]

[Pg 60]

According to the religion of the Cretans, Minos, their law-giver, ascended a mountain (Mount Dicta) and there received from the Supreme Lord (Zeus) the sacred laws which he brought down with him.[60:1]

Almost all nations of antiquity have legends of their holy men ascending a mountain to ask counsel of the gods, such places being invested with peculiar sanctity, and deemed nearer to the deities than other portions of the earth.[60:2]

According to Egyptian belief, it is Thoth, the Deity itself, that speaks and reveals to his elect among men the will of God and the arcana of divine things. Portions of them are expressly stated to have been written by the very finger of Thoth himself; to have been the work and composition of the great god.[60:3]

Diodorus, the Grecian historian, says:

The idea promulgated by the ancient Egyptians that their laws were received direct from the Most High God, has been adopted with success by many other law-givers, who have thus insured respect for their institutions.[60:4]

The Supreme God of the ancient Mexicans was Tezcatlipoca. He occupied a position corresponding to the Jehovah of the Jews, the Brahma of India, the Zeus of the Greeks, and the Odin of the Scandinavians. His name is compounded of Tezcatepec, the name of a mountain (upon which he is said to have manifested himself to man) tlil, dark, and poca, smoke. The explanation of this designation is given in the Codex Vaticanus, as follows:

[Pg 61]

Tezcatlipoca was one of their most potent deities; they say he once appeared on the top of a mountain. They paid him great reverence and adoration, and addressed him, in their prayers, as "Lord, whose servant we are." No man ever saw his face, for he appeared only "as a shade." Indeed, the Mexican idea of the godhead was similar to that of the Jews. Like Jehovah, Tezcatlipoca dwelt in the "midst of thick darkness." When he descended upon the mount of Tezcatepec, darkness overshadowed the earth, while fire and water, in mingled streams, flowed from beneath his feet, from its summit.[61:1]

Thus, we see that other nations, beside the Hebrews, believed that their laws were actually received from God, that they had legends to that effect, and that a mountain figures conspicuously in the stories.

Professor Oort, speaking on this subject, says:

"No one who has any knowledge of antiquity will be surprised at this, for similar beliefs were very common. All peoples who had issued from a life of barbarism and acquired regular political institutions, more or less elaborate laws, and established worship, and maxims of morality, attributed all this—their birth as a nation, so to speak—to one or more great men, all of whom, without exception, were supposed to have received their knowledge from some deity.

"Whence did Zoroaster, the prophet of the Persians, derive his religion? According to the beliefs of his followers, and the doctrines of their sacred writings, it was from Ahuramazda, the God of light. Why did the Egyptians represent the god Thoth with a writing tablet and a pencil in his hand, and honor him especially as the god of the priests? Because he was 'the Lord of the divine Word,' the foundation of all wisdom, from whose inspiration the priests, who were the scholars, the lawyers, and the religious teachers of the people, derived all their wisdom. Was not Minos, the law-giver of the Cretans, the friend of Zeus, the highest of the gods? Nay, was he not even his son, and did he not ascend to the sacred cave on Mount Dicte to bring down the laws which his god had placed there for him? From whom did the Spartan law-giver, Lycurgus, himself say that he had obtained his laws? From no other than the god Apollo. The Roman legend, too, in honoring Numa Pompilius as the people's instructor, at the same time ascribed all his wisdom to his intercourse with the nymph Egeria. It was the same elsewhere; and to make one more example,—this from later times—Mohammed not only believed himself to have been called immediately by God to be the prophet of the Arabs, but declared that he had received every page of the Koran from the hand of the angel Gabriel."[61:2]