Was Esau a Neanderthal?

While reading the recent Amren link about non-African humans having some Neanderthal DNA, I remembered one of my old, and silly, theories:  That Esau was a Neanderthal, or more accurately, that he represented Neanderthals in Scripture:

“23”: And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
“24”: And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
“25”: And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
“26”: And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
“27”: And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

Esau is also called Edom, which means “ruddy” (Gen. 36:1).  In Genesis 36:8, it says, “Esau dwelt on Mount Se’ir.  Esau is Edom”.  The word “Se’ir” is the same root as the word for hair.  As we know, Esau was hairy.  Esau was a “cunning hunter”.  The evidence points to Neanderthals being, if not necessarily cunning, certainly effective hunters.  If Esau was Neanderthal, then wouldn’t his brother, Jacob, also have been Neanderthal?  The story is, of course, allegorical, not to be taken literally.  Furthermore, it is possible that one twin inherited more Neanderthal genes than the other, that Esau was a throwback.  Why was Jacob so fearful of Esau?  In Genesis 32: 12 he expresses his fear that Esau will kill his whole family.  But given the immense physical strength of Neanderthals, it is easy to appreciate his fear.
Tradition has it that Europeans are the descendants of Esau, but judging from the names of his descendants in the Bible, most of them seem to be pretty well integrated into the Semitic world.
It has come to my attention that the common transliterations have left the names of these individual practically devoid of their Semitic flavor.  So I’ll list some of the names – but with my own transliterations (the apostrophe and underscore represent gutturals with no Western equivalent.  All vowels are continental and are approximate.  “bh” is a soft “b” as sometimes found in Spanish.  Double/soft Hebrew letters were left out):
Men:  Elifaz, Ya’ish, Ya’alam, Omar, Ga’atam, Qenaz, ‘Amaleq, Zerah, Lotan, Shobhal, ‘Alwan, Manahat, ‘Ebhal, Hemdan, Eshban, Yitran, Bilhan, Za’awan, ‘Aqan, Bela’, Yobhabh, Husham, Hadad, Hanan ben ‘Akhbor, Hadar
Women:  ‘Ada, Aholibhama, Basmat, Timna’, ‘Ana, Mehetabh-el, Matred
These names would be right at home among the Arabs, and some of them are, indeed, still used.  The name “Basmat” would mean “perfume” or “sweet scent” in Hebrew – but it would mean “smile” in Arabic.  Either one is acceptable as a female name.  The meanings of most of these names remain unknown – though we can guess about some of them.  “Zerah” has to do with shining.  “Lotan” would appear to have something to do with a curse, or one who curses (based on Aramaic).  “Yitran” could be “one who has an advantage/wealth”.  “Omar” could be “one who gives commands” (based on Arabic).  “Hanan” could mean “handsome” or “favored”.  Aholibhama means “tent of a lofty place”.  “Manahat” has to do with comfort or relaxation.
According to the research cited at the beginning of this post, all non-Africans have some Neanderthal DNA.  So, even if Esau represents a specifically Mideastern version of Neanderthal, there might have been other Esau’s in Europe and the Far East.   But is it possible that the persona of Esau represents a distant memory of the Neanderthal?  If so, it would have been the longest-lasting tradition ever – spanning tens of thousands of years.  It would be quite remarkable.  Unless, of course, Neanderthals survived until much later than is currently thought.  Or maybe Esau was part…  bigfoot.

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9 Responses to Was Esau a Neanderthal?

  1. destructure says:

    It sounds like you’ve been reading Esau’s Empire by Michael Bradley. Michael Bradley is himself Jewish so I’ve wondered if his books are a joke or if he’s really as nutty as he sounds. I’ve never bothered to read one.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I’d never heard of him. Though I thought of the idea myself, I realized that somebody had to have thought of it before. Also, I would have given him credit it I’d gotten it from his books. Maybe I’ll check him out.

  2. tommy says:

    Was Esau a Neanderthal?
    Lol. I remember having this thought a few times though I never developed any elaborate theory around it. It is one of those nonsensical ideas that pops into your head every now and again. Esau is described as hairy and red and he’s a cunning hunter. He sounds a lot like those carrot-topped Irish ogres you occasional encounter. Recent genetic reports suggesting that red hair may have been common among Neaderthals tend to rekindle such thoughts.
    Of course, some prefer to identify Jews with Neanderthals and I’ve encountered my fair share of hairy Jews and Jewish redheads. The Levant was long home to a more gracile kind of Neanderthal than inhabited Europe and I suppose Mideasterners got a small percentage of Neanderthal genes as did Europeans.
    Perhaps you have also experienced similar thoughts about Goliath or the Nephilim. Goliath, at least, seems to have a distinctly non-Semitic (Greek?) name.
    Esau certainly gets a bad rap in Judaism. Genesis seems to cast neither brother in a very favorable light, but the emphasis among the rabbis has always been on exonerating Jacob of any wrongdoing by making Jacob ten times better than a literal reading of the Torah would suggest and Esau ten times worse. There is a very similar dynamic in Jewish interpretations of the relationship between Sarah and Hagar. It’s the Jewish culture of narcissism at work.
    On a related note, I do find it rather odd that Orthodox Jews have managed to keep a straight face while going from identifying Esau’s descendants with their own southerly cousins, the Semitic Edomites, to identifying his descendants with Rome, to identifying Esau’s children with the Christian and post-Christian West. Nobody in Orthodox Judaism seems the least bit bothered by this obvious ethnic leapfrogging. Apparently, the Edomites, unlike the Jews, readily accept converts.

    • destructure says:

      Middle eastern religion is just tribal psyops. No one believes it because it’s rational. They believe it because it suits their prejudices.
      This is the Old Testament / Torah and Koran in 25 words…
      “God is great. He loves us best. We’re the good guys. And everyone else sucks. So kill them, take their land and rape their women.”

  3. Pingback: Jacob & Esau | Live Pure Faith

  4. Peter says:

    The Neanderthals were the Edomites who became the talmudic Judaics that supplanted the oral law rejecting Judahites who became Christians. The Khazars were already fullblooded Neanderthals on their own. Judaism is Neanderthalian, which was not true for the Israelite people of the covenant. Anthropology was on the trail of these findings which were the reason for it to be shut down. It was just too terrible to face, let alone admit the truth. We are all one happy family now. Or are we?

  5. Reblogged this on Peron Rants and commented:
    Was Esau a Neanderthal in the Levant? Were the Khazars full blooded Neanderthals? Some interesting speculation in this blog post I think.

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