Abraham's Intermarriage
© Charles Chandler
Now we can take a step back, and survey the whole situation. Figure 1 shows the family tree surrounding Abraham, taking all of the points in the present thesis into account. Despite the dense interconnections, there isn't any close inbreeding. Gilukhipa is commonly thought to have been the sister of Mutemwiya, in which case Mutemwiya's son Amenhotep III would have been Gilukhipa's nephew, and it would have been a bad idea for Amenhotep III & Gilukhipa to have children (such as Isaac). But in the present thesis, Gilukhipa was Sarah, the daughter of the queen of Mitanni by Terah. Since Terah was from elsewhere, Gilukhipa & Mutemwiya had unrelated fathers. Then, if Mutemwiya was the daughter of Shuttarna II by a wife other than the mother of Gilukhipa, which is likely since the two "sisters" were a generation apart, then they didn't have any blood in common. This means that Sarah could have had Isaac by Amenhotep III.
Not shown, but of great significance, is Aaron, supposedly the brother of Moses, but who the present thesis identifies as Prince Thutmose, brother of Akhenaten. (See Figure 2.) Aaron's son Eleazar married a daughter of Putiel.1 In the Talmud, Putiel is Jethro,2 and who the present thesis identifies with Isaac (see Moses, Isaac, & Jacob). So their son Phinehas would have been the grandson of the half-brothers Aaron & Isaac, and great-grandson of Amenhotep III. Likewise, Jacob was the grandson of the half-siblings Sarah & Tushratta, and Joseph was the grandson of the half-siblings Rebekah & Laban. (See Figure 3.) So it looks like the marriage of half first cousins was allowed, but nothing closer.
Lastly, can more be deduced about Rebekah's father Bethuel? Jewish lore compiled in the from earlier sources maintained that Bethuel was the king of Harran,3 the probable capital of Mitanni.4:231 The king of Mitanni in Rebekah's time would have been Tushratta, and his daughter would have been Tadukhipa. So this is consistent with Rebekah being Tadukhipa as described in the article on The Historicity of the Patriarchs. The midrash goes on to say that Bethuel died during the negotiations for Rebekah's hand in marriage, and in one version, died because of the negotiations, not wanting to give up his daughter, whereupon God took him. So, did Tushratta not want to give up Tadukhipa? Tushratta went on record several times on behalf of Tadukhipa, thinking that she should have been the queen consort of Egypt. But after being conveyed to Akhenaten when Amenhotep III died, she disappeared from the Egyptian records. She may have showed up in the Tale of Two Brothers,5 introducing another suitor who was banished to the Valley of the Cedar (modern-day Lebanon). The present thesis identifies the banished brother as Isaac, son of Amenhotep III by Sarah, and the inheritor of the Covenant in Canaan. If Tadukhipa was sent to Canaan to marry Isaac, she was being put out to pasture, or at least put out of Egypt to go preside over pastoral nomads in the Judaean Mountains, and Tushratta would have been furious.
But perhaps the deal was already sealed. In the previous generation, Amenhotep III had expelled Abraham & Sarah, thus rejecting the prophet and/or the prophecy of the Mitannians. As a diplomatic gesture, he let them retain control of Canaan, as long as they swore allegiance to the pharaoh. He even made the grant hereditary, but then he insisted that the Covenant pass to his son by Sarah (i.e., Isaac) instead of to Abraham's son by Hagar (i.e., Ishmael), meaning that when Abraham passed, the grant would revert back to the pharaoh's family. To make this work, the pharaoh had to take care of Isaac, at least until Abraham passed. When Akhenaten began evangelizing Atenism, the tolerance for other views disappeared. So Akhenaten needed to get the remaining Mitannians out of his court, including Isaac son of Sarah, and Tadukhipa daughter of Tushratta (i.e., Rebekah daughter of Bethuel). Instead of just sending them back to Mitanni, which could have provoked war, Akhenaten granted them the Egyptian frontier facing their homeland, just as his father Amenhotep III had dealt with Abraham & Sarah. So the Lord Akhenaten renewed the Covenant in Canaan with Isaac and Rebekah-Tadukhipa. Abraham took exception, since it meant that the Covenant was passing back to the pharaoh's family. Perhaps Abraham went so far as to attempt to kill Isaac to prevent the marriage, which then could have been echoed in the Binding of Isaac.6 And when the messenger prevented it, Abraham was allowed to sacrifice a ram instead, whose horns had gotten entangled in a thicket. The ram's horns might have symbolized royalty, or more specifically royal succession, in which case it was saying that somebody got himself snarled up in some sort of issue of succession, and ended up getting sacrificed — this could have been Tushratta getting assassinated, who also took exception to the marriage of Isaac & Rebekah, still thinking that his daughter should be the queen consort of Egypt. With Tushratta gone, Abraham could become king of Mitanni, as consolation for being disinherited in Canaan. So Abraham married Keturah, the daughter of Suppiluliuma, and with the backing of the Hittite army, ascended the throne of Mitanni.


1. Exodus 6:25 (G)

2. Eptein, I. (ed.) (500): Sotah 43a. In "Babylonian Talmud."

3. (1100): Yalkut Shimoni on Torah 109.

4. Olmstead, A. (1922): The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

5. Petrie, F. (ed.) (1895): Egyptian Tales, Translated from the Papyri, Second Series, 18th to 19th dynasty, Anpu and Bata. F. A. Stokes

6. Genesis 22 (The Sacrifice of Isaac)

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