So just who were the Israelites, anyway? Apparently, no one seems to know. In history books, they are sometimes referred to as Hebrews and in linguistics and ethnology they are usually called Semites. However, there is a lot more to the story – a lot more.
No one has ever really explored where the Israelites actually came from. Genesis 14:13 is the first mention of the Hebrews in the Bible. However, the Bible also says that Abraham and his family came from Ur, in Mesopotamia. That makes him a Sumerian (i.e. came from Sumer). Although there is much debate among scholars, Abraham probably lived around 2500 BC, give or take several hundred years. The Sumerian civilization began about 2,500 years earlier and lasted until approximately 1750 BC.
Samuel Kramer, in his book History Begins at Sumer, lists 39 “firsts” in history which began in Sumer. For example, they built the first cities and established the first monarchies and bureaucracies; they invented mathematics; they were the first to use irrigation, they established the first schools; they had the first written language and they wrote the first Great Flood and Creation stories. Historians have never been able to explain how the Sumerian civilization, which was far more advanced than the vaunted Greek civilization (that arose some one thousand years later), could appear out of nowhere. Further, civilization regressed after they disappeared from the world stage.
So why is there no discussion in the Bible of Abraham’s roots (other than the family tree)? Why was it important for the Old Testament writers to suppress the history of their people? After all, the Levite priests who wrote the Old Testament (when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon) knew that they were descendants of the Sumerian civilization, which was perhaps the greatest civilization that ever existed up until the 20th century! It would only have been natural to emphasize that history, but instead they chose to ignore it.
The Sumerians wrote the first account of creation called “The Seven Tablets of Creation”. Meanwhile, the Genesis story wouldn’t be written until 600 BC or so. The Levite priests had “The Seven Tablets of Creation” in front of them when they penned Genesis. After all, the Sumerian texts were the legacy of the Israelites. It was their history, a history about their ancestors. The Israelite roots were in Sumer and Abraham was a Sumerian.
As for the answer as to why this history was suppressed… I’ll let you connect the dots… but as Jean Jacques Rousseau once noted, “The falsification of history has done more to mislead humans than any single thing known to mankind.”