Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt and Sheba

Even though I showed in my previous rebuttal Sweeney’s “Punt in Phoenicia” is impossible, since Ramesses III confirms that the Egyptians set sail for Punt from Mersa Gawasis, Sweeney still continues to amaze me in his capacity to make s**t up.

The simple fact that Retenu gave Thutmose III tribute of myrrh does not mean that Retenu actually grew its own myrrh! Myrrh was a precious commodity, and could be used to pay tribute with far less expense than sending out tons of wheat. Also, Sweeney forgets to check his own Bible when he claims that:

But, as Velikovsky stated, there is very good reason to suppose that in antiquity the shrub was also cultivated in Syria/Palestine. This is hinted very strongly in a number of biblical passages. Thus in the Song of Songs, reputedly composed by Solomon, we read:

“My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh; Sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice; Your lips drip honey, and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” [Song of Songs 4:10-11]

Note how Lebanon is apparently here linked with myrrh.

(Psst… I don’t think Emmet realizes Song of Solomon 5:5 does NOT come directly before Song of Solomon 4:10-11.) I have no idea where in the world Sweeney got his composite quote from, but it shows how Sweeney fact-checks his sources. As for what “the scent of Lebanon” is, I have no clue, although I’m guessing it’s the scent of some sort of wood (cedar?)-the scent is certainly not myrrh, that has never been documented as growing anywhere in Lebanon, in either the Sumerian, Mari, Egyptian, Assyrian, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, Medieval, or Modern records.

As for Sweeney’s imaginary Lake Huleh-it never existed. There most certainly was a “Lake Huleh” around 33° 4’N, 35°37’E, which was drained under Zionist auspices between 1951 and 1958, but that is not the “Huleh Valley” imagined by Sweeney! That is a figment of his imagination, and certainly not “the marshes of the earth” of Thutmose III-Egyptian control extended as far as Carchemish, and those legendary “marshes” were paired by Thutmose III with the Kingdom of Mitanni in his Poetic Stela.

Sweeney’s statement that the conventional Punt was “a primitive land” during the days of Hatshepsut is quite true- and supported by Hatshepsut’s reliefs, which show no clearly developed state in Punt. In the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, conventional Punt was far from an empty land-the 1st Intermediate-Middle Kingdom site of Mahal Teglinos (SE Kassala) at the northern foot of Jebel Taka, containing Arabian, Kerman, and Egyptian pottery, attests to this. “At Agordat in the middle Barka valley (Eritrea), an Egyptian-style ceramic ear-plug and some stone celts which imitate bronze prototypes of the 17th-18th Dynasties have been excavated in sites dating to the mid-second millennium BC. On the Eritrean coast at Adulis (15°15’43″N, 39°39’35″E), two fragments of glass vessels typical of the New Kingdom have been found in a level dating to the late second millennium BC.” (Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, p.637). Indeed, Hatshepsut describes Punt as a land rich in wildlife and spices, but never describes Punt itself as urbanized-her reliefs show no artificial harbors or port cities, just chiefs in kilts and queens in fine dresses and necklaces. See my previous rebuttal for more about Punt itself. Indeed, the Queen of Parehu’s chiefdom was said by the relief to have been carried by a mere donkey, showing Punt was hardly considered by the Egyptians to be as developed as Egypt. Punt’s triangle-sailed boats are most assuredly not ships of Tarshish, Keftiu, or Byblos. The fact the existence of Punt was well known to the Egyptians does not mean Punt was well-charted and explored. I doubt a typical Christian would be able to point out even the most general area of where Jesus was crucified on a world map. Hatshepsut herself made it clear that her voyage was one of discovery.

Sweeney’s new idea of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais is interesting, but probably wrong, since Genesis 10 mentions Sheba as a descendant of Raamah(=Ragmatum, modern Najran, Saudi Arabia) along with Dedan (modern Al-Ula). Neither Sheba nor Seba is mentioned as a descendant of Mizraim(=Egypt). This shows Sheba is probably that famous kingdom of Saba centered in Marib, 15°25’38″N, 45°20’10″E. The connection of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais has not, as I know, been accepted in the scholarly community at large. I also find it linguistically doubtful, since Egyptian s is not likely to have been transliterated as a Hebrew shin, since in all other cases it is transliterated as a samek (e.g. Rameses). It is also not likely to transition to a Greek Theta. Tarshish, meanwhile, might have an original “ch” behind the Greek tau and Hebrew shin. I’m still sticking with the old etymology “Egyptian Ta-opet/ape (“the head”)= Coptic Tape, spoken as Thaba=Greek Thebais”.

Also, the Queen of Sheba is described in the Bible as being amazed at “all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of YHWH”-yet the Deir el Bahari reliefs mention none of these, but do mention a Puntite chief named Parehu, ruling with his wife, Ati, and having two sons and a daughter. The Queen is also mentioned as “arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones”-yet, Hatshepsut arrived in a fleet of ships, no camels were described as boarding them, and neither do her reliefs make mention of any visit to any kingdom-only of a visit to the Puntite coast. Neither does she mention arriving with even a single camel. Indeed, Hatshepsut received green (i.e. good) gold of ‘Amau from Punt and also received very much myrrh-but the Bible mentions the Queen’s great giving of spices-that “never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”-perfectly fitting a queen of the kingdom of Marib, which had many myrrh and some frankincense fields under its disposal, consistent with Jeremiah 6:20 and Isaiah 60:6, where Sheba was described as a source of frankincense (Heb. lebonah, from laben, “to be white”).

As for Sweeney’s desperate attempt to counteract Hatshepsut’s clear statement that

“He [Amon] hath made my kingdom, the Black Land, and the Red Lands are united under my feet. My southern boundary is as far as Punt …; my eastern boundary is as far as the marshes of Asia, and the Asiatics are in my grasp; my western boundary is as far as the mountain of Manu … my fame is among the Sand-dwellers altogether. The myrrh of Punt has been brought to me … all the luxurious marvels of this country were brought to my palace in one collection, which the Asiatics presented … turquoise/chrysocolla of the country of Reshet. They have brought me the choicest products of … consisting of cedar, of juniper and of meru-wood; … all the goodly sweet woods of God’s Land. I brought the tribute of Tehenu(Libya)…” (Emphasis Mine)

by saying “All the queen seems to be saying is that her southern border, in Nubia, is as far distant from Thebes as her northern border, in Punt.”, he seems to forget that, taking his statement literally, one would wind up in an Egyptian northern border on the northern border of the Kingdom of Judah, and the fact that Egypt’s actual northern border was at Carchemish, well north of his “Hula Valley”. Hatshepsut does not here include a northern border because the only thing directly north of Egypt is salt water, and her Levantine border was already covered in her eastern border, which was as far as the marshes of Asia, that is, the marshes of the Upper Euphrates. As to whether her southern border really was as far south as Punt, if she knew about latitude, her statement would be correct, if not, she would be simply exaggerating in the manner of Esarhaddon, who stated that all the kings who lived in the sea, as far as Tarshish, submitted to him.

It is therefore concluded that Emmet Sweeney is full of s**t regarding both Punt, Sheba, the Bible, and Lebanese geography, and that the conventional locations of both Punt and Sheba are correct. It is a pity rebels do not always think out the consequences of their statements before making them.