Lilith: Adam’s First Wife in Eden or a Diabolical Demoness?
Lilith is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian texts as a winged female demon that attacks pregnant women and infants. From Babylonia, the legend of “the lilith” spread to ancient Anatolia, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Greece.
In this guise—as a wilderness demoness—she appears in Isaiah 34:14 among a list of nocturnal creatures who will haunt the destroyed Kingdom of Edom. This is her only mention in the Bible, but her legend continued to grow in ancient Judaism.
During the Middle Ages, Jewish sources began to claim her as Adam’s bold and independent first wife. How did Lilith evolve from being a wilderness demoness into Adam’s first wife?
Where the Story of Lilith Began
The story begins at the beginning—in Genesis 1. The creation of humans is described in Genesis 1 and again in Genesis 2. The first account is fairly straightforward: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27).
The second account describes how God formed man out of the dust of the ground and then created woman from the side (not rib) of man: “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. …
So, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and he slept. Then He (took) from his side and closed up its place with flesh; and (from) the side that the Lord God had taken from the man, He made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:7, 21–22)
In the post-Biblical period, some ancient Jewish scholars took the stance that Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:21–22 described two separate events, since it appears that females were created differently in these two accounts.
Was Lilith Adam’s First Wife?
In her Bible Review article “Lilith” in the October 2001 issue, Professor Janet Howe Gaines explains this reasoning: Considering every word of the Bible to be accurate and sacred, commentators needed a midrash [an expansive interpretation] to explain the two different views in the Torah’s two creation narratives. God created woman twice—once with man, once from man’s side; so there must have been two different women.
Since Adam names the second female Eve; Lilith was identified as the first female in order to complete the narrative. Thus, Genesis 1:27 describes the creation of Adam and an independent, powerful, unnamed woman (Lilith).
The details of Lilith’s creation and relationship with Adam, are recounted in The Book of Ben Sira, an apocryphal work from the tenth century BC, Dan Ben-Amos explains that although this is the first extant text that records the full legend of Lilith, her story existed much earlier.
In the post-Biblical period, rabbinic sages identify Lilith several times by the title “the First Eve,” indicating that her full story was well known in oral tradition. Finally, in the tenth century BC in Babylon, an anonymous writer who included in his book some other sexually explicit tales, spelled out the Lilith’s bold behavior.
How Was Lilith Different From Eve?
The Tales of Ben Sira relates that God created Lilith from the earth, just as he had created Adam. They immediately began fighting because Adam always wanted to be on top of Lilith and would never agree to serve under Lilith.
Recognizing that Adam would not yield to her, Lilith “pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air” (The Tales of Ben Sira). Three angels Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof were sent to pursue Lilith but she fiercely refused to return with them to the Garden of Eden.
“‘Leave me!’ Lilith said. ‘I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth [until his circumcision on the 8th day after his birth protects him], and if female, for twenty days’” (The Tales of Ben Sira).
As a compromise, Lilith promised that if she saw the angels’ names or forms on amulets, she would leave the child alone. Lilith also agreed that 100 of her children—demons—would die every day but she fiercely asserted the rest would live.
If the first male had only agreed to serve under the first female half of the time (that is all she asked of him) Lilith would have been Eve: It is better to live outside the garden with Eve than inside it without her.
Blessed be the One who brought us together and taught me to know the goodness of her heart and the sweetness of her soul! “Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.” (Adapted from Mark Twain)
The Anunnaki & Nibiru
Thanks to Zecharia Sitchin , most ancient astronaut theorists (and their fans) believe the Anunnaki are a mysterious race of beings who came from a planet called Nibiru.
The term Anunnaki derives from an, “heaven,” and nuna-ke-ne, “princely offspring.” Thus, they are the offspring of Anu, father of Enki and Enlil. The first mention of Nibiru is in the Enûma Eliš , in Tablet V verse 6:
“He founded the station of Nebiru to determine their (heavenly) bands”. The second mention is at the end of Tablet VII, verse 126: “Nebiru is the star which in the skies is brilliant.”
In both, translator E. A. Speiser clearly states Nibiru is Jupiter and L. W. King states the same in his translation. Nibiru derives from eberu, “to cross,” from which Sitchin dubbed his Nibiru as the “planet of crossing.” But the cross is that of the zodiac, upon which is the celestial Sun.
The alleged orbit of Sitchin’s planet is 3,600 years. The number is a sar, the Sumerian unit of time equal to 3,600 earth years, generated by multiplying 6 by 10 (pur), arriving at 60 (soss); 60 X 10 gave 600 (ner), and 600 X 6 = 3,600 (sar).
Nowhere in the creation epic does it associate this figure with Nibiru and nowhere else in Sumerian mythic literature is Nebiru mentioned. Thus, Anunnaki is simply a Sumerian term for the gods , who did not come from another planet.
The Forbidden Fruit
For millennia people have assumed the forbidden fruit of Eden to be an apple. Genesis states:
Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the brutes on the earth, which the Lord God made, and the serpent said to the woman, Wherefore has God said, Eat not of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (Gen. 3:2-4, OT)
The assumed consensus has always been the image of the serpent handing Eve an apple, but the Bible (or any other source for that matter) does not mention an apple at all, but uses the generic term “fruit,” which obviously could mean any fruit.
The association was made in the early history of the Church using a paronomasia when preaching to the ignorant masses. In Latin, the word for “bad” is malus and the word for “apple” is malum.
This simple yet specious pun spawned an apple in every piece of artwork concerning the event. But the fruit is not an apple at all, it is described as “like the appearance of a bunch of grapes of the vine” (ApAb. 23:6) and “its fruit is like a cluster of white grapes.” (Orig. World 110)
The Sumerian Tree of Life
Depictions of the Sumerian Tree of Life has befuddled ancient astronaut theorists, many of whom speculate every few months over what they call “ handbags.”
The Assyrian bas-relief from the walls of the Northwest Palace of Ashurbanipal II (reigned 883-859 BC) at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), c. 870 – 860 BC, shows two Apkallu gods flanked, each with a pinecone and a situla (water bucket), representing the food and water of immortality.
This simple yet definitive answer was known to the mythologists of the 19th century, well established decades before the appearance of ancient astronaut theory.
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