eye of anu: berossus on the creation

Watcher (Aramaic עִיר ʿiyr, plural עִירִין ʿiyrin[ʕiːr(iːn)]; Theodotian transir; from the root of Hebʿer, “awake, watchful”.

[1]Greek: ἐγρήγοροι, transl.egrḗgoroi; “Watchers”, “those who are awake”; “guard”, “watcher”[2]) is a term used in connection with biblical angels

Watcher occurs in both plural and singular forms in the Book of Daniel (4th–2nd century BC), where reference is made to their holiness.

The apocryphal

Books of Enoch (2nd–1st centuries BC) refer to both good and bad Watchers, with a primary focus on the rebellious ones.[3][4]

According to Jonathan Ben-Dov of the University of Haifa, the myth of the watchers began in Lebanon when Aramaic writers tried to interpret the imagery on Mesopotamian stone monuments without being able to read their Akkadian text.[32]

Amar Annus from the University of Tartu argues that the Watchers were intended as polemical representations of the Mesopotamian Apkallu, who gave wisdom to man before the flood (which is portrayed as a corrupting influence in Enochian literature).[33] According to Berossus, a Chaldean priest, over 200,000 years of records on human history were stored in Babylon, pre-flood.

Apkallu (Akkadian) and Abgal (Sumerian) are terms found in cuneiform inscriptions that in general mean either “wise” or “sage”.

In several contexts the Apkallu are seven demi-gods, sometimes described as part man and part fish, associated with human wisdom; these creatures are often referred to in scholarly literature as the Seven Sages. Sometimes the sages are associated with a specific primeval king. After the deluge (see Epic of Gilgamesh), further sages and kings are listed. Post-deluge, the sages are considered human, and in some texts are distinguished by being referred to as Ummanu, not Apkallu.

The terms Apkallu (as well as Abgal) is also used as an epithet for kings and gods as a mark of wisdom or knowledge.

A further use of the term Apkallu is when referring to figurines used in apotropaic rituals; these figurines include fish-man hybrids representing the seven sages, but also include bird-headed and other figures.

In a later work by Berossus describing Babylonia, the Apkallu appear again, also described as fish-men who are sent by the gods to impart knowledge to people. In Berossus, the first one, Oannes (a variant of Uanna), is said to have taught people the creation myth the Enuma Elis.

Berossus on the Creation

The first book of Berossus‘ Babylonian history begins with a description of the creation of the world and humankind, based on the epic Enûma êliš, and includes the story of Oannes, who taught wisdom to man, and a Babylonian bestiary. Unfortunately, Berossus’ own account is lost, but it was summarized in an Armenian translation of the Chronicon by the Christian author Eusebius. The text was translated by Gerald Verbrugghe and John Wickersham.

Neo-Assyrian plaque of Oannes
Neo-Assyrian plaque of Oannes

Berossus reports in the first book of his Babylonian history that he was a contemporary of Alexander, the son of Philip, and that many public records, which covered a period of over 150,000 years ago about the history of the sky and the sea, of creation, and of the kings and of their deeds, had been preserved with care.

First he says that the land of the Babylonians lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates. It produces wild barley, chickpea, and sesame, and even, in its marshlands, edible roots, called gongai. These roots are the equal of barley in nutrition. The land also produces dates, apples, and all sorts of other fruit, as well as fish and birds, field birds as well as waterfowl.

There are also in the land of the Babylonians waterless and infertile regions near Arabia, while lying opposite Arabia there are hilly and fertile areas. In Babylonia there was a large number of people of different ethnic origins who had settled Chaldaea. They lived without discipline and order, just like animals.

In the very first year there appeared from the Red Seanote in an area bordering on Babylonia a frightening monster, named Oannes […]. It had the whole body of a fish, but underneath and attached to the head of the fish there was another head, human, and joined to the tail of the fish, feet, like those of a man, and it had a human voice. Its form has been preserved in sculpture to this day.

Berossus says that this monster spent its days with men, never eating anything, but teaching men the skills necessary for writing and for doing mathematics and for all sorts of knowledge: how to build cities, found temples, and make laws. It taught men how to determine borders and divide land, also how to plant seeds and then to harvest their fruits and vegetables. In short, it taught men all those things conducive to a settled and civilized life. Since that time nothing further has been discovered. At the end of the day, this monster Oannes went back to the sea and spent the night. It was amphibious, able to live on land and in the sea.

Later other monsters similar to Oannes appeared, about whom Berossus gave more information in his writings on the kings. Berossus says about Oannes that it had written as follows about the creating and government of the world and had given these explanations to man.

A lamassu from Khorsabad
A lamassu from Khorsabad

There was, he says, a time when the universe was only darkness and water, and in it there were wondrous beings with peculiar forms who were able to engender other living beings. For men with two wings were born, as were other with four wings and two faces. Some of these had one body but two heads, male and female, and two sets of sexual organs, male and female. Further, there were other men with the legs of goats and the horns of goats on their heads. Yet others had horses’ feet, and others had the body of a horse for their lower extremities and human bodies for their upper body, which are the forms of hippo-centaurs.

Bulls were engendered with human heads, as were dogs with four bodies, who had fish tails on their hindquarters. There were also horses with dogs’ heads, men and other creatures with the heads and bodies of horses, men with tails of fish, and all sorts of creatures who had the forms of all sorts of animals. In addition, there were fish, snakes, crawling things, and many other amazing creatures that had the appearance of two different animals combined. Their images are preserved one next to the other in the temple of Bêl [Esagila].

Over all these a woman had control, named Omorka, who in Babylonian is named Thalatth [Tiamat], but in Greek her name is translated as Thalassa [Sea] or, with the same value of the letters in the name, Selene [Moon].

Marduk and his snake dragon (from J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols ofancient Mesopotamia,1992)
Marduk and his snake dragon

While the world was in this state, Bêl rose up against that woman and cut her in half. Out of the first half he made the earth and out of the second the heavens. The animals who were in her he destroyed. All this, Berossus says, is an allegorical explanation. For when all was water and only monsters were in it, the god cut off his own head, and the other gods mixed the flood of blood with earth and created men.

Because of this men have reason and share in the gods’ wisdom.

But Bêl, whose name is translated into Greek as Zeus, cut through the darkness and separated the sky and the earth from one another and established order in the universe. The monsters could not endure the strength of the light and were destroyed. Bêl, however, as he saw an empty and barren region, gave an order to one of the gods to cut off his own head and mix earth with the flowing blood and to create men and the animals that could breathe the air.

Bel created the stars and the sun and the moon and the five planets. All this […] Berossus reported in his first book.

The Sumerian King List

     This 4,000 year old cuneiform tablet was discovered in the early 1900s by Hermann Hilprecht.  What this German American scholar discovered at the ancient site of Nippur, was a list of kings recorded in the Sumerian language.  The interesting thing is that this list of kings pauses to specifically mention “the flood that swept over the earth…”  Mention of a flood seems unnecessary in a list of kings.  The Sumerian Kings List also records eight kings that reigned before the flood.  This is in harmony with Genesis, as Genesis records 8 generations between Adam and Noah (Genesis 5).  This is a great argument in favor of a worldwide flood.

     Pictured above is an 8-inch high block with two columns on each side.  Some believe that there was originally a wooden spindle going through the center so it could be rotated and easily read.  This artifact lists rulers form the antediluvian world (pre-flood world) through the fourteenth ruler of the Isin dynasty circa 1763BC – 1753BC.

     Sumeria is the site of the earliest known civilization located in the southernmost part of Mesopotamia, located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  This area later became known as Babylonia and is now southern Iraq. 

     The kingship listed on the artifact begins with a kingship from heaven, which is seen as divine, the tablet states:  “the kingship had descended from heaven”.  Some aspects of this list seem to be somewhat mythical.  For example the earliest rulers are presented as living for extremely long periods of time, for example it reads:

     “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was Eridug.  In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28,800 years.  Alaljar ruled for 36,000 years.  2 kings; they ruled for 64,800years.”

     The long periods of reign may be symbolic of the life those rulers lived.  For example, in ancient Egypt, the phrase “he died aged 110” referred to someone who lived life to the fullest and who offered an important contribution to society.  In the same way these long years may simply imply the importance of the person mentioned.

     Another astounding similarity with Genesis is the reduction in lifespan after the flood.  Before the flood the average lifespan was 912 twelve years (Genesis 5).  After the flood the lifespan was reduced greatly due to changes in environment and diet.  In just eleven generations the lifespan went from 950 years (Noah) to 175 years (Abraham).  This lends more evidence to the quality and trustworthiness of this archaeological find not to mention its coroboration of the Bible.

     There have been several lists of the Sumerian Kings List that have been discovered since the early 1900’s.  Although they do not all match up precisely, it is likely that they all have a common origin in a single document that other lists were copied from.

Who were the Irin?

The Watchers were tasked with observing mankind in the early times according to the Book of Enoch. However, their desire for the beauty of mortal women drove them to descend from the heavens and fornicate with god’s creations and furthermore corrupt them.

In the Books of Enoch, the first Book of Enoch devotes much of its attention to the fall of the watchers. The Second Book of Enoch addresses the watchers (Gk. egrḗgoroi) who are in fifth heaven where the fall took place. The Third Book of Enoch gives attention to the unfallen watchers.

The use of the term “watchers” is common in the Book of Enoch. The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 6–36) occurs in the Aramaic fragments with the phrase irin we-qadishin, “Watchers and Holy Ones”, a reference to Aramaic Daniel. The Aramaic irin “watchers” is rendered as “angel” (Greek angelos, Coptic malah) in the Greek and Ethiopian translations, although the usual Aramaic term for angel malakha does not occur in Aramaic Enoch.

Some have attempted to date this section of 1 Enoch to around the 2nd–1st century BC and they believe this book is based on one interpretation of the Sons of God passage in Genesis 6, according to which angels mated with human females, giving rise to a race of hybrids known as the Nephilim. The term irin is primarily applied to disobedient watchers who numbered a total of 200, and of whom their leaders are named, but equally Aramaic iri (“watcher” singular) is also applied to the obedient archangels who chain them, such as Raphael (1 Enoch 22:6).

Book of Enoch

In the Book of Enoch, the watchers (Aramaic עִירִין, iyrin) are angels dispatched to Earth to watch over the humans. They soon begin to lust for human women and, at the prodding of their leader Samyaza, defect en masse to illicitly instruct humanity and procreate among them. The offspring of these unions are the Nephilim, savage giants who pillage the earth and endanger mankind.

Samyaza and his associates further taught their human charges arts and technologies such as weaponry, cosmetics, mirrors, sorcery, and other techniques that would otherwise be discovered gradually over time by humans, not foisted upon them all at once. Eventually God allows a Great Flood to rid the earth of the Nephilim, but first sends Uriel to warn Noah so as not to eradicate mankind. The watchers are bound “in the valleys of the Earth” until Judgment Day (Jude verse 6 says, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”).

The chiefs of tens, listed in the Book of Enoch, are as follows:

7. And these are the names of their leaders: Sêmîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl. 8. These are their chiefs of tens.

— R. H. Charles translation, The Book of the Watchers, Chapter VI.

The book of Enoch also lists leaders of the 200 fallen angels who married and commenced in unnatural union with human women, and who taught forbidden knowledge. Some are also listed in Book of Raziel (Sefer Raziel HaMalakh), the Zohar, and Jubilees.

Araqiel (also Arakiel, Araqael, Araciel, Arqael, Sarquael, Arkiel, Arkas) taught humans the signs of the earth. However, in the Sibylline Oracles, Araqiel is referred to not as a fallen angel, or watcher, but as one of the five angels who lead the souls of humans to judgment, the other four being Ramiel, Uriel, Samael, and Azazel.

Armaros (also Amaros) in Enoch I taught humanity the resolving of enchantments.

Azazel taught humans to make knives, swords, shields, and how to devise ornaments and cosmetics.

Gadreel (or Gader’el) taught the art of cosmetics, the use of weapons and killing blows.

Baraqel (Baraqiel) taught astrology.

Bezaliel mentioned in Enoch I, left out of most translations because of damaged manuscripts and problematic transmission of the text.

Chazaqiel (sometimes Ezeqeel or Cambriel) taught humans the signs of the clouds (meteorology).

Kokabiel (also Kakabel, Kochbiel, Kokbiel, Kabaiel, and Kochab), In the Book of Raziel he is a high-ranking, holy angel. In Enoch I, he is a fallen watcher, resident of the nether realms, and commands 365,000 surrogate spirits to do his bidding. Among other duties, he instructs his fellows in astrology.

Penemue “taught mankind the art of writing with ink and paper,” and taught “the children of men the bitter and the sweet and the secrets of wisdom.” (I Enoch 69.8)

Sariel (also Suriel) taught humankind about the courses of the moon (at one time regarded as forbidden knowledge).

Samyaza (also Shemyazaz, Shamazya, Semiaza, Shemhazi, Semyaza and Amezyarak) is one of the leaders of the fall from heaven in Vocabulaire de l’ Angelologie.

Shamsiel, once a guardian of Eden as stated in the Zohar, served as one of the two chief aides to the archangel Uriel (the other aide being Hasdiel) when Uriel bore his standard into battle, and is the head of 365 legions of angels and also crowns prayers, accompanying them to the 5th heaven. In Jubilees, he is referred to as one of the Watchers. He is a fallen angel who teaches the signs of the sun.

Yeqon or Jeqon (Hebrew: יָקוּם‎, romanized: Yaqum, lit. ‘he shall rise’) was the ringleader who first tempted the other Watchers into having sexual relations with humans. His accomplices were Asbeel, Gadreel, Penemue, and Kasdaye (or Kasadya), who were all identified as individual “satans”.

The account of the Book of Enoch has been associated with the passage in Genesis 6:1-4, which speaks of Sons of God instead of Watchers:

When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. Then the Lord said: “My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years.” At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.

— Genesis 6:1-4 – via Kehillah Beit Kodesh

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