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: 54Izdubar is represented as a great or mighty man, who, in the early days after the flood, destroyed wild animals, and conquered a number of petty kings.
Another mighty hero was the Grecian Bellerophon. The minstrels sang of the beauty and the great deeds of Bellerophon throughout all the land of Argos. His arm was strong in battle; his feet were swift in the chase. None that were poor and weak and wretched feared the might of Bellerophon. To them the sight of his beautiful form brought only joy and gladness; but the proud and boastful, the slanderer and the robber, dreaded the glance of his keen eye. For a long time he fought the Solymi and the Amazons, until all his enemies shrank from the stroke of his mighty arm, and sought for mercy.[75:3]
The second of the principal gods of the Ancient Scandinavians was named Thor, and was no less known than Odin among the Teutonic nations. The Edda calls him expressly the most valiant of the sons of Odin. He was considered the "defender" and "avenger." He always carried a mallet, which, as often as he discharged it, returned to his hand of itself; he grasped it with gauntlets of iron, and was further possessed of a girdle which had the virtue of renewing his strength as often as was needful. It was with these formidable arms that he overthrew to the ground the monsters and giants, when he was sent by the gods to oppose their enemies. He was represented of gigantic size, and as the stoutest and strongest [Pg 76]of the gods.[76:1] Thor was simply the Hercules of the Northern nations. He was the Sun personified.[76:2]
Without enumerating them, we can safely say, that there was not a nation of antiquity, from the remotest East to the furthest West, that did not have its mighty hero, and counterpart of Hercules and Samson.[76:3]
[62:1] The idea of a woman conceiving, and bearing a son in her old age, seems to have been a Hebrew peculiarity, as a number of their remarkable personages were born, so it is said, of parents well advanced in years, or of a woman who was supposed to have been barren. As illustrations, we may mention this case of Samson, and that of Joseph being born of Rachel. The beautiful Rachel, who was so much beloved by Jacob, her husband, was barren, and she bore him no sons. This caused grief and discontent on her part, and anger on the part of her husband. In her old age, however, she bore the wonderful child Joseph. (See Genesis, xxx. 1-29.)
Isaac was born of a woman (Sarah) who had been barren many years. An angel appeared to her when her lord (Abraham) "was ninety years old and nine," and informed her that she would conceive and bear a son. (See Gen. xvi.)
Samuel, the "holy man," was also born of a woman (Hannah) who had been barren many years. In grief, she prayed to the Lord for a child, and was finally comforted by receiving her wish. (See 1 Samuel, i. 1-20.)
John the Baptist was also a miraculously conceived infant. His mother, Elizabeth, bore him in her old age. An angel also informed her and her husband Zachariah, that this event would take place. (See Luke, i. 1-25.)
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born of a woman (Anna) who was "old and stricken in years," and who had been barren all her life. An angel appeared to Anna and her husband (Joachim), and told them what was about to take place. (See "The Gospel of Mary," Apoc.)
Thus we see, that the idea of a wonderful child being born of a woman who had passed the age which nature had destined for her to bear children, and who had been barren all her life, was a favorite one among the Hebrews. The idea that the ancestors of a race lived to a fabulous old age, is also a familiar one among the ancients.