Thursday, October 8, 2015

Judaism & Ancient Bactria/Balkh (586 BC)


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"BALKH, town in northern Afghanistan (within medieval Khurasan). Balkh was formerly the stronghold of Jewish settlements in Afghanistan. According to Persian and Muslim traditions, it was founded after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.E.), who is said to have settled the exiled Jews there. It was to Balkh, according to Muslim tradition, that the prophet Jeremiah fled, and where the prophet Ezekiel was buried. According to the Muslim historian al-Ṭabarī, another Jewish prophet with the unidentifiable name of SMY conducted religious disputations with Zoroaster in Balkh...... Reference by Arab geographers to a Bāb al-Yahūd (Gate of Jews) in Balkh, and to "al-Yahūdiyya" ("Jewish territory" or "Jewish town") provide additional evidence that a large Jewish settlement existed there. The name al-Yahūdiyya or al-Yahūdān-al Kubrā (the Great Jewry) was, however, later euphemistically changed to al-Maymana (the 'auspicious' town) since the term "al-Yahūdiyya" was rejected by the Muslims. It was at Balkh that the sectarian *Hiwi al-Balkhī was born in the ninth century....... The Jews of Balkh were forced to maintain a public garden. Maḥhmūd of Ghazna (1034) imposed special taxes on the Jews of the town, stipulating, however, that not more than 500 dirham should be accepted from them. The Jewish community continued well into the 13th century, when a Jewish merchant from Balkh named Khawāja Rashīd al-Dīn al-Ḥakīm went from Khurasan to India. However, the community was evidently destroyed during the Mongol invasions by Genghis Khan in 1220 AD."....

"The Jews in Bokhara are 10,000 in number. The chief rabbi assured Dr Wolff that Bokara is the Habor and Balkh the Halah of 2 Kings xvii 6....but that it was in the reign of Chengis Khan they lost all of their written accounts. At Balkh the Mohammedan mullahs assured him that it was built by a son of Adam, that its first name had been Hanakh, and afterwards Halah, though later writers called it Balakh or Balkh. The Jews both of Balkh and Samarkand asserted that Turkestan is the land of Nod, and Balkh, where Nod once stood."...Page 434........Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Edward Balfour - 1871 - ‎India..... of a mission to Bokhura...4th edition page 11

'In 1220 AD Genghis Khan sacked Balkh, butchered its inhabitants and leveled all the buildings capable of defense..."

Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845......Narrative of a mission to Bokhura...4th edition page 11....Narrative of a mission to Bokhara : in the years 1843-1845, to ascertain the fate of Colonel Stoddart and Captain Wolff, Joseph, 1795-1862.......CHAPTER 1. Mysterious state of the Pagan World. Life of Dr. 1831 Arrives at Meshed ; goes to Sarakhs, Mowr, Karakol, and Bokhara, where he is well treated by the Ameer. Crosses the Oxus to Balkh ; thence to Peshawr.....

2 Kings 18 .....New International Version......."In King Hezekiah’s fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel. The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out."

"The Land of Nod (Hebrew: eretz-Nod‎, ארץ נוד) is a place mentioned in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, located "on the east of Eden" (qidmat-‘Eden), where Cain was exiled by God after Cain had murdered his brother Abel. According to Genesis 4:16: 'And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.'.....Genesis 4:17 relates that after arriving in the Land of Nod, Cain's wife bore him a son, Enoch, in whose name he built the first city."

"Balkh is named Amu-I-Balad.....the mother of cities. It is said to have been built by Kaismurz of Persia. It was conquered by Alexander....Shams are said to worship the Sun (Shams) Pers...or Amu Balad.....The River Oxus is known and the Amu Darya........Rivers: Amu (A Mu) or River Oxus, Sir or Jaxartes, Kohik or Zar-Afshatn, and the river of Kurshi and Balkh...."......Page 992.....Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Edward Balfour - 1871 - ‎India.....

Click on the map to enlarge.

"The Jews in Bokhara are 10,000 in number. The chief rabbi assured me that Bokhara is the Habor, and Balkh the Halah, of the 2nd Kings, xvii. 6 ; but that in the reign of Ghengis Khan they lost all their written accounts. At Balkh the Mussulman mullahs assured me that it was built by a son of Adam (Shem), that its first name had been Hanakh, and afterwards Halah, though later writers called it Balakh, or Balkh. The Jews, both of Balkh and Samarcand, assert that Turkistaun is the land of Nod, and Balkh where Nod " once stood." In this land of Cain the Jews bear a mark, by order of the King of Bokhara, in order that no Mussulman may give them Salaam Peace. To Rabbi Joseph Mooghrubee, an African, the Jews of Bokhara owe the restoration of their ancient customs ; they had nearly lost all trace of them, in their sojourn among Muhammedans."....Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845

"Bactria (Bactriana, Bākhtar in Persian, also Bhalika in Arabic and Indian languages, and Ta-Hsia in Chinese) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus); its capital, Bactra or Balhika or Bokhdi (now Balkh), was located in what is now Afghanistan. It is a mountainous region with a moderate climate. Water is abundant and the land is very fertile......Bactria (Bâkhtriš): country in northern Afghanistan, in Antiquity famous for its fierce warriors and its ancient religion, which was founded by the prophet Zarathustra.....Bactria was bounded on the south by the ancient region of Gandhara. The Bactrian language is an Iranian language of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family.....During the first centuries of the Christian era, Bactrian could legitimately have been ranked amongst the world's most important languages. As the language of the Kushan kings, Bactrian must have been widely known throughout a great empire, in Afghanistan, Northern India and part of Central Asia. Even after the collapse of the Kushan empire, Bactrian continued in use for at least six centuries, as is shown by the ninth-century inscriptions from the Tochi valley in Pakistan." ....

"Most Jewish communities throughout the area which is part of modern day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the surrounding area speak of their beginning by referring to the Assyrian Exile (720 BC) and the Bablyonian Exile (560 BC). It is difficult to refute, or supply evidence for this. There are no archaelogical remains that allow one to argue so. However, there is a mention in the Bible of the exile of a large community to the river Gozan.....The main Jewish communities in the early Middle Ages were in the following cities: Merv, Balkh, Ghazni, Herat, Kabul and Nishapur. There were smaller pockets of Jewish settlement in Khush-Khak and Ferozkoh-Jam..".....written by: Guy Matalon PhD The article was first published in Mardom Nama-e Bakhter (August 1997), an Afghan scientific journal edited by Latif Tabibi, and Daud Saba.

"I obtained a passport from the King after this most interesting so- journ, and then crossed the Oxus, and arrived after a few days at Balkh ; and from that city, where I also communed with the dispersed of Israel, I proceeded to Muzaur, the spot where Ali's camel disap- peared miraculously at his tomb. Hither came pilgrims from Aff- ghanistaun, Cashmeer, Khokand, Shahr-Sebz, Hindustaun, Khiva, and Bokhara. Hence I proceeded to Cabool, in AfFghanistaun. Some Affghauns claim a descent from Israel. According to them, Affghaun was the nephew of Asaph, the son of Berachia, who built the Temple pf Solomon. The descendants of this Affghaun, being Jews, were carried into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, from whence they were removed to the mountain of Ghoree, in Affghanistaun, but in the time of Muhammed turned Muhammedans. They exhibit a book, Majmooa Alansab, or Collection of Genealogies, written in Persian, My readers will find these examined in my former work*, but here I shall only allude to it. There is a great air of vraisemblance about it, and their pedigree is sometimes traced, like our Lord's, through the female branch, which proves how futile is the Jewish objection on that head to our Lord's descent." .....Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845

"Friday, the 23rd of February. Arrived, after twenty-four miles ride, at Damghan, considered, after Balkh and Nishapoor, the most ancient city in the world ; and the numerous ruins testify the truth of its antiquity.".....pilgrimages to Mecca or to Masaur, near Balkh, where Ali's camel ascended to heaven."..... Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845

"Usbekistaun is filled with beautifully- watered and cultivated valleys. Here we find the Great Bokhara, in contradis- tinction to Little Bokhara ; from 34 to 42 north latitude, and from 80 to 92 east longitude, it extends in different directions. It bor- ders towards the south-west from the desert Khawar towards Iraun ; from the river Amoo to the territory of Balkh, towards the southern Affghanistaun, through the high galleries of mountains to the Hindoo Kush, it borders on the southern provinces of China.".....Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845

"NARRATIVE OF THE MISSION ......the whole of Turkistaun, as far as Iraun. The celebrated Murad or Beggi Jan raised the nation of the Usbecks. Incessant wars with Persia and Cabal have sometimes extended the empire as far as Merve, Heraut, and Balkh ; and sometimes it has been reduced to its former limits. The Usbecks are Mussulmans, rough and uncul- tivated ; but the Tatshick, the original inhabitants, are more civilized. The Usbecks live mostly on cattle, whilst the Tatshick are merchants. The Tatshick are the Armenians of Turkistaun ; they are merchants and brokers ; their language is the Persian. The Tatshick are ex- ceedingly deceitful. The people of Khokand are proud and effemi- nate, but friends of Europeans ; the women chaste, but men given to vice ; fond of music and of hunting, and of cheerful temper. The inhabitants of Marghilaan are a quiet, inoffensive, and agreeable peo- ple. The Kaffer Seeah-Poosh are pagans. They are believed, as I have said, by some to be the descendants of the army of Alexander the Great ; their women are beautiful, and celebrated in Asia ; their dialect seems to be derived from the Sanscrit....They worship their ancestors. Their idols are of wood and stone, to whom sacrifices are offered by the hereditary priesthood. They also have magicians. They consider fish as unclean. Polygamy is practised among them. They are deadly foes to the Muhammedans. They are sociable, cheerful, and passionate. Dancing, with musical instruments and drums, forms part of their amusements.".....Narrative of a Mission to Joseph Wolff.....Originally published: 1845

"The name Afghanistan came into vogue during the rule of Ahmed Shah Durrani (1747-1773 AD). Prior to that Afghanistan was referred to as Aryana, Bactria, Aryanam Viju, Pakhtiya, Khurasan and Pashtoonkhwah.......The Bactrian religious leader Zarathrushta (Zardasht) in his work Zendavesta calls this region Aeseen Vijo or Aryanum Vijo meaning the land of the Aryans......The Rig Veda and the Zendavesta are believed to be the oldest texts in the world. Many European scholars believe that both the texts were composed in Afghanistan......Zarathrushta, the composer of Avesta was born in north Afghanistan near Balkh, where he preached the Zorastrian religion which was the national religion of Iran for almost one thousand years. Not only is the language of the Vedas and that of the Avesta similar, but also the names of their gods like Mitra, Indra, Varun are the same. The description of battles between the gods and the demons are found in both the texts......There are so many references made to Afghanistan in the Chhandogya Upanishad, Markandey Puran and other Vedic and Buddhist literature......According to most historians, the Rigveda was composed in the ancient homeland of the Aryans, Afghanistan. The language of the ancient Afghans was Brahmui which is very similar to the language of the Vedas. References of the Pashtoon people and the Afghan rivers are found in the Rigveda. The rivers which are today known as Aamu, Kabul, Kurram, Ranga, Gomal and Harirudh were known to the ancient Indians as Vakshu, Kubha, Krum, Rasaa, Gomati, Haryu respectively. The places which are now called Kabul, Kandhar, Balkh, Wakhan, Bagram, Pameer, Badkhasha, Peshawar, Swat and Charsadda are referred to in Sanskrit and Pali literature as Kuhka, Gandhar, Bahlik, Vokkan, Kapisha, Meru, Kamboj, Purushpur, Suvastu and Pushkalavati respectively. Gandhari, the devoted wife of King Dhritrashtra of Hastinapur (now Delhi), Panini, the great Sanskrit grammarian and Guru Gorakhnath were all Pathans. Takshshila, which is believed to be the first university in the world was established in 600 BC.".....

"The Amu Darya (Persian: آمودریا‎‎, Āmūdaryā; Turkmen: Amyderýa; Turkish: Ceyhun; Uzbek: Amudaryo; Tajik: Амударё; Pashto: د آمو سيند‎, da Āmú Sínd; Ancient Greek: Ὦξος, Oxos; Latin: "Oxus"; Sanskrit: वक्षु, Vakṣu), also called Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia....In classical antiquity, the river was known as the Ōxus in Latin and Ὦξος Oxos in Greek—a clear derivative of Vakhsh — the name of the largest tributary of the river.[citation needed] In Vedic Sanskrit, the river is also referred to as Vakṣu (वक्षु). The Avestan texts too refer to the River as Yakhsha/Vakhsha (and Yakhsha Arta ("upper Yakhsha") referring to the Jaxartes/Syr Darya twin river to Amu Darya).......In Middle Persian sources of the Sassanid period the river is known as Wehrōd (lit. "good river").......The name Amu is said to have come from the medieval city of Āmul, (later, Chahar Joy/Charjunow, and now known as Türkmenabat), in modern Turkmenistan, with Darya being the Persian word for "river"........Medieval Arabic and Muslim sources call the river Jayhoun (جيحون) which is derived from Gihon, the biblical name for one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden.".....

"Jews were banished from other towns after the assassination of King Nādir Shāh in 1933. Though not forced to live in separate quarters, Jews did so and in Balkh they even closed the ghetto gates at night. A campaign against Jews began in 1933. They were forbidden to leave a town without a permit.....Approximately 5,000 Jews were living in Afghanistan in 1948..... They were concentrated in Kabul, Balkh, and mainly Herat......Government service and government schools were closed to Jews, and certain livelihoods forbidden to them. Consequently, most Jews only received a ḥeder education [religious school to the age of 13]....There were only a few wealthy families, the rest being poverty-stricken and mostly employed as tailors and shoemakers. Until 1950 Afghan Jews were forbidden to leave the country. However, between June 1948 and June 1950, 459 Afghan Jews went to Israel. Most of them had fled the country in 1944, and lived in Iran or India until the establishment of the State of Israel. Jews were only allowed to emigrate from Afghanistan from the end of 1951. ".....Encyclopaedia Judaica.....Jews in Afghanistan

"Shem (Hebrew: שֵׁם, Modern Shem, Tiberian Šēm; Greek: Σημ Sēm; Ge'ez: ሴም, Sēm; "renown; prosperity; name"; Arabic: سام Sām) was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature..... Semitic is still a commonly used term for the Semitic languages"


"Abraham (who was first called Ab­ram) was born in the year 1813 BC......Abraham was the tenth generation removed from Noah, being a direct descendant of Shem, (Noah's son), the father of all the "Semitic" peoples......Abraham's birthplace is called Ever-haNahor ("Beyond the River")......his family were pastoral nomads, wandering from place to place for varying periods of time......According to the Quran, Abraham reached the conclusion that anything subject to disappearance could not be worthy of worship, and thus became a monotheist (Quran 6:76-83.) ....Bactria (a region of ancient Afghanistan) was the locality of a prototypical Jewish nation called Juhuda or Jaguda, also called Ur-Jaguda. Ur meant "place or town." ....In some Islamic narratives, Balkh was founded by Noah after the great flood ended...."

"Abraham is given a high position of respect in three major world faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism he is the founding father of the Covenant, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God – a belief which gives the Jews a unique position as the Chosen People of God. In Christianity, the Apostle Paul taught that Abraham's faith in God - preceding the Mosaic law - made him the prototype of all believers, circumcised and uncircumcised. The Islamic prophet Muhammad claimed Abraham, whose submission to God constituted islam, as a "believer before the fact" and undercut Jewish claims to an exclusive relationship with God and the Covenant.".....Peters, Francis Edwards (2010). The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Princeton University Press.


October 2015

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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