Nothing New Under The Sun
by Inez Comparet
Taken From Your Heritage
Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees and lived there until he was about 50
years old. Then with his father Terah, his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, they moved
to Haran and remained there until Terah died. Yahweh said to Abram in Genesis 12:1-
4, “ … Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house,
unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless
thee, and make thy name great … And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him
that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Because we believe the United States is one of the great nations promised to
Abraham’s seed, this becomes our history. Just at the time the higher critics had about
convinced everybody that Abraham was just a legendary figure, the archaeologists
began proving the Bible to be true. Thousands of our books have become worthless
and ancient history had to be rewritten.
The earliest history begins in Mesopotamia, a Greek word meaning the land
between the rivers. The Euphrates river was on the west and the Tigris river on the
east, in what is now called Iraq. This country, from time immemorial, had two major
political divisions. One of these divisions was Assyria, occupying the northern part,
having its capital at Ninevah. The other group was Babylonia which occupied the
southern part with Babylon as its capital. The southern part of Babylonia, which touched
the Persian gulf, was also known at different periods of its history as Sumer, Shinar and
Chaldea. One of the oldest cities in this southern part of Babylonia is Ur. It is located
150 miles from Babylon and in the zenith of its history, was a seaport at the mouth of
the Euphrates river, where it emptied into the Persian gulf. Ur is now 130 miles inland
and for many centuries the river has been ten miles to the east, but the piers and docks
are still there.
Before 1919 little was known about Ur. Mr. J. E. Taylor, the British consul at
Basra, was the first to dig there and he brought to light enough inscriptions to convince
the most skeptical that the great mound covered the Biblical Ur of the Chaldees. In
1922 Dr. C.I. Wooley, field director for the joint expedition of the British museum and
the University of Pennsylvania museums took up the work at Ur. He worked for twelve
seasons, during the four or five months when the weather permitted, with 200 workmen
Dr. Wooley discovered that Chaldea, at that time, was a rich agricultural district.
Ur was a manufacturing city of busy looms, factories and shops where skillful artisans
produced a wide variety of clothing, household articles, metal utensils, jewelry and
numerous musical instruments, harps, lyres, flutes, etc. At that time music was
regarded as a health and life giving art. Today we have again found that same truth.
The streets of Ur were named and some of them were paved. There was a sewage
system. The walls of the city have been traced for two and a half miles, the wall was 80
feet high and 70 feet wide, made of adobe brick.
The houses were built with only a door on the street side. The houses were built
around a paved central court and they were large houses, containing from 13 to 22
rooms. The first story was built of burnt brick and the second story of adobe brick, then
this was plastered and whitewashed. The stairs to the upper floor went up from the
central court. Behind the stairs was the bathroom. Each house had a library with books
containing their genealogies. Hymn books were found here as well as in the temples.
There were archaeologists among the people also, for copies of inscriptions on and in
old buildings were found.
The people wrote with a stylus on tablets of moist clay that when dried and
baked, the tablets became almost imperishable. So, we have a complete record of their
life. In the time of Abraham, and centuries before his day, Ur had ceased to be the
political capital but was the religious capital. Ur was a city of libraries, schools, art
museums and all the refinements known to human society.
There was no illiteracy in Ur, in the time of Abraham. Every man, woman and
child over 7, was compelled to learn to read and write. Society was so constituted, in its
everyday activities, that such knowledge and skills were necessary. The school books
consisted of texts in mathematics, astronomy, history and medicine. There were
grammars with the full conjugation of verbs in two languages, Sumerian and Hebrew,
there were even forms for extracting both square and cube roots.
There is one clay tablet 3 by 2½ inches, that is a contract between a land owner
and a tenant farmer. The land owner agreed to provide the land, seed and the animals
to work the crops. The tenant farmer affirmed that he would prepare the land, plant the
crops, work it, and market the produce for 2/3rds of the proceeds. Sounds modern
doesn’t it? Then each signed the agreement and in addition one took hold of one
comer of the tablet, and the other the diagonally opposite corner, thus sealing the
contract with his thumb print. We thought we had discovered something new in finger
There was a postal system established by Naram-Sin about 3750 B.C.. The
routes extended from the Euphrates to the Nile. It wasn’t just official correspondence.
One husband wrote to his wife. “Do not neglect the house. Have a look at things. Pray
to the gods on my behalf. Let me hear through some message what you are thinking
Another message thanks a friend for sending him his physician. There was one
to a lady Kasbeya from Gimil-Merodack. “ I am living at Babylon, but have not seen you,
which troubles me greatly. Send me news of your coming to me, so that I may be
happy.” The one I like best is the one from a son urging his father to send him some
money, there is no change there!
One tablet gives a payroll for seven months. Another almost identical tablet was
found written two years later, three changes had taken place. One man’s salary had
been raised, that of another reduced and a woman had taken a man’s position,
receiving the same salary. That isn’t always done today!
Among the professions of ancient Babylon, money lending held a foremost
place. In some instances, the money lenders founded businesses which lasted for
generations and brought a large part of the property of the area into their possession.
One archaeologist said they were the Rothschilds of the ancient world. Sometimes the
interest charged was 10% sometimes 16 2/3%. There are even records of buying and
selling on the installment plan. There is a contract around Abraham’s time, about the
rental of a wagon with the stipulation that it may not be driven over to the coast. So our
car rental is nothing new either.
King Hammurabi was a contemporary of Abraham. He is the king the Bible calls
Amraphel found mentioned in Genesis chapter 14. He had 283 sections in his law
codes regulating almost every conceivable incident and relationship of life.
Irrigation laws provided that if land is not cultivated, the holder must give account
and pay compensation. The laws covered canal and water rights, the fees and
responsibilities of builders and boatmen. It fixed the charges of physicians and
surgeons and even veterinarians. Other laws dealt with the duties of tax collectors, yes
they had tax collectors even then.
This is a little of what civilized man has achieved in earlier ages. I think that you
will agree with Solomon. “Whatever has been is that which will be; And whatsoever has
been done is that which will be done. And there is nothing new under the sun.”
Critical note by Clifton A. Emahiser: Did you know while the Holy Bible speaks
of “ fishers ” it also speaks of “ hunters ” in the very same verse? Jeremiah 16:16:
“ Behold I will send for many fishers, saith Yahweh, and they shall fish them; and after
will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from
every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.”
The fishermen, of course, were the disciples chosen by Yahshua as most
everyone knows. The hunters were the archaeologists, two of whom Mrs. Comparet
mentions here. And what did the hunting-archaeologists find? The answer is: They fond
where the lost tribes migrated to after their Assyrian captivity.