Ur of the Chaldees refers to the Chaldeans who settled the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers near the Persian Gulf. This area was known as Mesopotamia. Ur is also known as the ancient city of the Sumerian civilization and the home of Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation. Other cities that were settled in Mesopotamia were Ukak, Eridu, and Kish, with Ur being the largest.
Activity: Find a map of ancient Mesopotamia. Label the cities of Ur, Ukak, Eridu, and Kish. Now label modern-day cities in this area.
The main god worshipped in Ur was Nanna (aka Suen), a god to the moon in the crescent phase. Nanna was called “the Exalted Lord,” “the Crown of Heaven and Earth,” “the Beautiful Lord who Shines in Heaven.” Eventually the name Suen was transformed into Sin and became the favorite name for the moon god.
Think About and Discuss: The moon god’s name Suen was changed to Sin. Do you think this has any significance to what we know as sin as today? Consider the attributes of this god and the first of the Ten Commandments in your discussion as well as 1 John 3:4.
In the sacred area of Ur, there was a shrine. The shrine contained the statue of the god Nanna and his bedchamber. On the terrace was the ziggurat, with twin temples, the day house of the moon god and his consort, the goddess Nin-Gal. A large Ziggurat to Nanna which is known as the Tower of Babel was also built in Ur or Shinar.
Think About and Discuss Genesis 11:1-8. Use the information you have already learned – i.e. moon god, ‘beautiful lord who shines in heaven’ and temples built to this god and discuss the Tower of Babel.
“So Zebah and Zalmunna said, ‘Rise yourself, and kill us’ for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.” (Judges 8:21)
“Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekles of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants … which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks.” (Judges 8:26)
To worship the crescent moon in the Ur of the Chaldees meant worshipping another god – Nanna. This moon worship continued to the time of the Judges and Gideon. The crescents were on the kings of Midian. Today, this crescent moon worship continues in the religion of Islam.
Activity: Find a photo of the Islamic flag with the crescent and the star. How does this flag reflect Isaiah 14 and the ‘morning star’ as well as the moon god, Nanna/Sin.
1. Who was the major god of Sumer?
2. How was this god represented?
3. What was built in honor of this god?
4. Do you see remnants of the moon (crescent) god being worshipped today? How and in what religious circles?
Gods and Goddesses of Sumer
Put Nanna, An, Ki-Ninhursag, Enlil, Nammu, Enki, Utu, Ianna, and Ereshkigal on the Chart of God in next to their attribute.
Nanna (aka Suen or Sin)
Attribute: Moon god (crescent)
An (aka Anu)
Attribute: Sky god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of the gods, spirits, and demons and lived in the highest heavenly regions.
Family: He had a child Enlil with Ki-Ninhursag. His goddess partner was Ianna (Ishtar).
Ki- Ninhursag (aka Isis and Hathor in Egypt)
Attribute: Goddess of the Earth/Mother Earth, the source of all life.
Family: She lost her prestige to Ishtar, but retained some notoriety as the mother of Marduk, the supreme god of Babylonia.
Enlil – Son of An and Ki – Older “Bel”
Attribute: God of the air and storms.
Chief of the Babylonian religion. He was usually portrayed in human form but also as a snake to the humans’ eyes.
Family: His consort was Nan-lilla “the lady of the mist’, the original Lilith, the Jewish night monster.
Attribute: Goddess of the Primeval Sea.
Enki (aka Ea in Babylon)
Attribute: Deity of water and wisdom.
He emits streams of water from his shoulders. He is the god who gave rulers their intelligence and who provided craftsmen with their skills. He was often pictured as a man covered with the body of a fish.
Place in Bible history: It is believed that Enki came down to earth and defied the Anunnaki ruling council by telling Noah how to build a ship on which to save humanity from the flood. Ea would have been over 120 sars old at that time, yet his activity with humanity continued to be actively reported for thousands of years after.
Attribute: God of the sun who lights the world with rays issuing from his shoulders. He was also the god of justice and carved out justice with the many-toothed saw he carried with him.
Attribute: Goddess of Love and War.
Ereshkigal – Sister of Ianna
Attribute: Goddess of darkness, gloom, death.
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