Bible Myths from Arabia Felix
by Revilo P. Oliver
AS I WRITE, a new book by Dr. Kamal Salibi of the American University in Beirut has not yet been published in this country, and I owe notice of it to Der Spiegel, which will publish portions of it in German translation, and to an article by Jim Muir of the Sunday Times, an English newspaper in Beirut. The title of the book states its thesis, The Bible Came from Arabia. According to the press, Dr. Salibi offers evidence that the well-known tale about David and Solomon in the Jew book is derived from events that took place “in the fertile coastal hills of western Arabia, now the Saudi provinces of Asir and the Southern Hejaz.”
That is not at all surprising. Everyone knows the Jewish legend about the imaginary wealth of “Solomon” and the fabulous prosperity that inspired a queen of Saba (corrupted to “Sheba” in the Bible) to visit the big Sheeny in Jerusalem and become converted from some more reasonable religion to the worship of Yahweh. The tale was picked up by Mahomet in the Koran (surah 27), since he naturally had a special interest in it, and further adorned by Arabian fancy, reaching its finest literary expression in Gerard de Nerval’s Histoire de la Reine du Matin et de Soliman, Prince des Genies.
These legends have their source in historical fact, the great prosperity of the kingdom of Saba, which flourished in the southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula from the ninth century B.C. or earlier to shortly before A.D. 570. The Sabaeans (who were almost certainly Homer’s Aethiopians) were a White race of Mediterranean stock; see their faces in the sculptures preserved in the great museum at Vienna, many of which are photographed in David H. Muller’s Suedarabische Altertuemer (Vienna, 1899). They spoke a Semitic language, Sabaean, also called Southern Arabian, now known from the many inscriptions that have preserved most of what is now certainly known of their history. The language differs greatly from the Arabic of the Koran, from which were derived all the dialects of Arabic now spoken by Semitic peoples. (Jews, of course, are not Semites; they are a hybrid race which contains a large Semitic admixture, and Hebrew is a dialect they formed from the language of Canaan, often called Old Phoenician.)
For a very concise outline of Sabaean history, see Professor Philip K. Hitti’s History of the Arabs (London, 1964). The prosperity of the Sabaeans, which is reflected in the Classical name of their country, Arabia Felix, depended on their ocean-borne commerce, their monopoly of many products, such as frankincense, and their agriculture, made possible by irrigation from artificial lakes, especially that formed by the famous dyke of Ma’rib, of which the extensive remains have been again studied by archaeologists in the present decade.
The final collapse of Sabaean civilization coincided with the ruin of the dyke of Ma’rib, after which much of the land became desiccated and desolate. The cause was one of the emphatic lessons of history that American nitwits are determined to disregard. At the height of their prosperity, the Sabaeans invaded and conquered the region of Africa opposite their land and enslaved the native Blacks, who had some vestiges of culture left from the conquest of Nubia by the Egyptians long before. The conquering Sabaeans, however, in the ignorance that preceded the development of biological science, fecklessly committed the crime of miscegenation, producing mongrels and eventually giving to the territory in Africa the appellation, “Land of Bastards,” Abyssinia (now changed to Ethiopia). They were infected by Christianity in the Fourth Century,(*) and the Christian lust to plunder and save souls probably contributed a fanatical zeal when the mongrels, taking advantage of civil war in the Sabaean kingdom, invaded and conquered their mother country in the Sixth Century. They ruined it, of course, and naturally neglected maintenance of the dyke of Ma’rib, which finally broke sometime between 542 and 570, and was famed thereafter as a cause, rather then a consequence, of the disastrous end of Sabaean culture. The territory, much of which is now known as Yemen (al-Yaman), was occupied by an expedition from Sassanian Persia, and it is said that the devastated land was in such chaos by 575 that a corps of 800 disciplined Persian troops sufficed to send the mongrels scuttling back to Africa.
(footnote: *Quite a few Christian gospels are now preserved only in translations from Greek into Geez (“Old Ethiopic”). Whether the translations were made directly from the Greek or from Coptic or Arabic or Syrian intermediaries is a much disputed question.)
It would not be at all remarkable if the Jews picked up stories from Arabia Felix as a basis for some of their tales in the “Old Testament,” just as they derived the story about Noah and his ark from a Sumerian myth that reached them through a Babylonian adaptation of it. And the actual prosperity of the Sabaeans could have suggested the tale about the riches and power of Solomon. But if the reports in the press are not misleading, Professor Salibi goes much farther and argues that the Biblical Israel was Saba, whence it would seem to follow that the Sabaeans were Jews!
Now it is true that the race of migratory parasites did get into Arabia at a comparatively early date. It is probable that, as Professor H.W.F. Saggs observes in The Greatness That Was Babylon (New York, 1962; paperback, 1968), Jews were established in the strategic oases along the trade routes by the last King of Babylon, Nabonidus, when he led an expedition into the Arabian peninsula that reached modern Medina and the Red Sea. The Jews naturally showed their gratitude to their benefactor in their normal manner, by spreading subversion in Babylonia and eventually betraying his capital to the Persians under Cyrus the Great in 538 B.C. It is also true that the Sabaean kingdom in the centuries preceding its collapse was swarming with Jews, who doubtless worked hard to incite dissension and civil war, as they normally do in all territories which they have infiltrated, but there is no reason to suppose the Jews were more than parasites on the Sabaeans, as they are on the Americans today. If Salibi goes so far as to make Saba ancient Israel, he is indulging in wild fantasy.
I mention all this now because Jim Muir, whom I mentioned above, suggests that, on the basis of Salibi’s theory, the Jews may claim Saudi Arabia as their “homeland” too. Whether the Jews would adopt such a justification may be doubted, but it is certain that they intend to occupy and destroy Saudi Arabia, a kingdom they particularly hate because it contains the most nearly pure Semites to be found in the world after that race was dispersed and diluted by Islam, the Jews’ religion for Arabs. For this purpose, the Jews will naturally use their American subjects as they are now using the nominally American C.I.A. and the Shi’ites (the Moslem heresy now dominant in Iran) to excite trouble in Saudi territory. It is not unlikely that the attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and the presence of American naval vessels to protect them may be a planned preliminary to the sinking of some American ships, which will provide a pretext for rushing American forces to “help” the Saudis in much the same way as the mongrels from Abyssinia came to “help” one faction in Sabaean territory and then occupied it. If a large-scale expeditionary force is desired and the Americans show a lack of enthusiasm for another war to serve the Jews, the fake “energy crisis” could be made severe enough to pep them up. And the gang in Washington would have no trouble at all in arranging a “crisis” that would be proclaimed by their mouthpiece, whether Reagan or another stooge, to invoke the rule by open terrorism in the Soviet manner for which all preparations have now been made, including a whole sheaf of Executive Orders that have been printed in the Federal Register and thus made law, and reprinted by various starveling “right-wing” and “Nazi” organization that imagine that the boobs in the United States still possess some organ that is capable of thinking. Of course, the Aryan sheep, now grazing contentedly under the eyes of their Jewish shepherds, will never read such unpleasant things, and when they feel the Executive Orders in domestic counterparts of the Gulag Archipelago, the sheep will bleat mindlessly and wonder what happened.
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Source: Liberty Bell magazine, December 1984