[The AMAIC may not necessarily agree with this interesting article in its entirety]
Acrisius and Proetus as Jacob and Esau
Having made the assertion that the Argives of Greece had originated from the land of Israel, it becomes plain that the Greek, specifically Argolian (the Perseid Danaans of Argolis), myth of Acrisius and Proetus owes much to the Scriptural story of Jacob and Esau. However, at this point, I feel that it may be helpful to explain, in a little more detail, the chronological arrangement of the Danaan genealogy. As outlined in the previous chapter, Danites from Israel had established themselves with the Inachids (Anakim sojourners flushed by Caleb and Joshua from Hebron) at the Greek Argolis. Another group, (whom the Greeks associated with Perseus,) who came a few generations later from Joppa knew that they were related to the earlier established Danaans by race, but as to their story of Io and Hermes they must have had their doubts. Several generations had intervened, between the days of Deborah and Barak, when the apostate Danites had fled in their ships from the sons of Jacob, and the days when the Perseid Danites had gone to Greece from the Seaport of Joppa. Meanwhile the later group of Danites had developed their own version of the Exodus that featured their hero Perseus (Significantly, as it applies to the development of their theology, their hero was a mortal "son of god" and not a god himself, as was Hermes in the more ancient story). It is apparent that they had neither the ability nor the desire to abolish the earlier mythology, so they simply added their own version of history onto it, as if their stories were subsequent events.
The Perseid Danites gave a son to Hypermnestra and Lynceus, from the Danaan story, whom they called "Abas," (plausibly meant to represent Abraham,) which is the usual Hebrew word for "father," ("Ab"-raham is said to mean "father" of multitudes) and they made this Abas to be the father of their own mythological history, which they began at Abas and continued on to tell the story of a Acrisius and Proetus. Of any story attributable to the Greek mythological character who was known as Abas there is little to report. It was said by some that he was a great warrior, (The same was said of Abraham at Gen.14) but there is no report of his participation in any war, some say that he invented the shield, or that he had a magic shield which one had only to display, (a bit like the Ark of the Covenant, but more like the "shield" of Abraham to be found at Gen 15:1, where Abraham is indeed associated with a divine "shield.") and the enemy would be miraculously disbursed. Of Abas it is said, "The fame of his warlike spirit was so great, that even after his death, when people revolted, whom he had subdued, they were put to flight by the simple act of showing them his shield." (Virg. Aen. III. 286 ; Serv. ad loc.from Smith, "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology"). Not to discount the story of his shield, but there was a much more important role to be played by Abas, which was that of a genealogical connector, a "place holder" as it were, between the earlier Danite/Inachid dynasty and the subsequent Danite/Perseid one. Ovid himself, while seeming to admit that Danaus was an Egyptian, the son of the Egyptian king Belus, describes the so-called Danaan descendants of Danaus from Abas forward in this way; "Acrisius the son of Abas, of the Cadmean race" (Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 607 ff). Now, "the Cadmean race" is well known to be the Phoenicians from the land of Canaan (Israel). A plausible reason for Ovid's remark could be his understanding that Perseus had brought the story of Abas, Acrisius, and Danae, from the Danite capitol of Joppa, which he perhaps considered to be a Phoenician seaport.
The discerning reader must at this point be asking himself, why these characters, who were supposed to be representing such ancient Hebrew figures as Jacob and Esau, would wind up in the much more recent generation of Greek heroes from Argolis. However, this should not be the source of too much amazement when one considers the fact that there were many similar examples of this phenomenon, such as, Cadmus the Phoenician, who came with his followers and founded a colony at Thebes in Boeotia, and who no doubt had brought a great deal of mythology with him from his native land. But the date of Cadmus, as is attested to by the fact that he brought with him an alphabetic form that was in use about 850 BC., was not so old as the stories that he brought with him. These older Phoenician stories, were later placed chronologically, into his more recent genealogy as his daughters, Ino and the story of Athamas, Semele and the story of Dionysus, etc. And there was Heracles, who was supposed by the Greeks to be the son of the Greek Amphitryon, but was known in ancient Tyre many generations before the Greek Heracles had lived, and he had been attested to amongst the Egyptians at an even earlier date. Later Greek historians were surprised to find that many of the Greek gods and heroes had foreign duplicates, who were much more ancient than were their Greek counterparts. For this chronological problem, Herodotus had a perfectly good explanation. He assumed that the writers of Greek mythologies were in the habit of inserting the stories of foreign characters, gods, goddesses, heroes and such, into the ancestral families of the Greeks amongst whom these stories were first told, and placed them chronologically at the approximate time when those Greeks who first told them had lived. However, the Greeks were not so ancient as those foreign nations from whom they got the knowledge of these characters, these then were the circumstances that gave rise to the troubling chronological difficulties to which Herodotus addressed himself. The quote from Herodotus' "Histories," (2.146) runs thusly, "To me, therefore, it is quite manifest that the names of these gods (he was speaking of Pan and Dionysus) became known to the Greeks after those of their other deities, and that they count their birth from the time when they first acquired a knowledge of them."
It is apparent that the mythographers simply inserted the story, about the ancestors of those Danaans, who told the story of Perseus from Joppa, into the generation that preceded their arrival. They knew that these more recent Danaans were but later generations of the previous Danaans who had told the story of Hermes Argiophontes and, who had joined the Inachids in the founding of Argolis, therefore the mythographers placed the Perseid stories of their ancestry subsequently into the same dynastic family tree. This would tend not only to explain the placement of Abas and his son Acrisius, but also goes some way toward explaining why there would be two distinct analogies to the story of the Hebrew exodus appearing in the same mythological strain.
Before going on to contrast the stories, let us first examine the respective names of the comparative twins in each case. In the Scriptural story the names of both Jacob and Esau undergo a change. Jacob becomes "Israel," and Esau becomes "Edom," and eventually their respective lands become named after, each their own, changed name. In associating the Greek myth with the Hebrew history, we shall also use the changed names of the Hebrew characters, for it is the names, "Israel and Edom," that are most comparable with the names of the Argolian characters, "Acrisius and Proetus." We shall begin by comparing the name Proetus with the name Edom. We are informed by the learned mythologist Robert Graves in the index of his book, "The Greek Myths," that the name "Proetus," means, in Greek, "first man." Although the name "Edom" does not mean the first man, it's Hebrew meaning is like the name of the well known Scriptural first man, "Adam," in that they both derive from the same root word, meaning, "red." therefore the names Edom and Proetus are alike, in that they both have an association with, "the first man."
Let us next examine the names Acrisius and Israel. Although we are told right within the Scriptural text itself that the name, "Israel" means a "contender with God," we have also been told, by many learned philologists who have studied the matter, that the root meaning is "ruled by God." We need not look far for the Greek word meaning "ruled by god" for we have inherited it, as many modern languages have, directly from the Greeks, it is "theocracy," "theo" meaning "god," and "cracy," pronounced "kri'-see" is the part that means "ruled by." Now, by taking the name Acrisius and eliminating the perfunctory Greek suffix -us, we are left with, "Acrisi," the pronunciation of which is, "ah-kri'-see," thus we can plainly find the phrase "ruled by" within the Greek name and are left only with the prefix, pronounced "ah." As in other related Greek words such as, democracy, plutocracy, and aristocracy, the part designating "who" customarily precedes the part that means "ruled by," therefore one wonders indeed if the prefix "ah" in the name of Acrisius is not simply a worn down variant of the well known clipped version of God's name, just like it can be found as a prefix to many Hebrew names, in the form "Yah." In the light of the foregoing it does seem reasonable to conclude that the Greek names Acrisius and Proetus, do have a likeness to the Hebrew names Israel and Edom respectively.
Now, to continue comparing the two stories Jacob and Esau, with Acrisius and Proetus, the first thing that most people will notice in any comparison between the two pairs, is that in each case we have the birth of twins who struggle, even in the womb before birth, over who should receive the kingdom as a birthright (Genesis 25:22-24). "Lynceus reigned over Argos after Danaus and begat a son Abas by Hypermnestra; and Abas had twin sons Acrisius and Proetus by Aglaia, daughter of Mantineus. These two quarreled with each other while they were still in the womb, and when they were grown up they waged war for the kingdom." (Apollodorus, Library 2.2.1). The motif of twins struggling with each other in the womb before birth is a fairly rare one, I know of only three stories where this was said to have occurred, the one aforementioned Greek myth of Acrisius and Proetus, and two more Hebrew examples, the stories of Jacob and Esau, and that of Zerah and Perez (Zerah and Perez struggle in the birth canal at the very moment of birth, Perez pulling Zerah back inside, and then leaping forth himself in order to be the first born.). Although the story of Perez and Zerah is compelling, we shall confine ourselves here to the more obvious parallels between the stories of the two twin pairs, Jacob and Esau among the Hebrews, and the Greek myth of Acrisius and Proetus.
The early life of both sets of twins are remarkably similar. The Greek myth has Acrisius and Proetus initially alternating their possession of the kingdom inheritance for a time. In the Hebrew Scriptures Esau has the initial inheritance for a time until Jacob tricks him out of it, but then Esau travels to Seir, marries into a local Canaanite clan, and begins to raise an army among them with the idea of destroying Jacob. Therefore Jacob flees to Syria where he increases his forces and returns, at this point, there is a meeting between the two groups, however, instead of fighting to the death, there is a stand off between the two brothers who decide to split the kingdom up, Esau taking a part which he names after himself "Edom," while Jacob retained the land which he named after himself, "Israel." Now, the Greek myth, has a very similar series of events occur between their equivalent set of twins Acrisius and Proetus. Just as Jacob did in Israel, Acrisius gained the upper hand and refused to let Proetus have his rightful share in the kingdom inheritance (Paus. 2.25.6). Therefore, Proetus goes off and marries into a local non-Greek clan (Hom. Il vi. 160; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 630, &c.; comp. Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vi. 48), the Lycians, (An apparent association of the Lycians with the pagan Canaanites, specifically the Hittites, here presents itself. We shall return to this comparison, in greater detail, in a subsequent chapter concerning the character Bellerophon, where I will show that Lycia was indeed a very popular place of refuge for immigration from Israel, especially, but not exclusively, by Hittites.) among whom he raises an army with the intent of destroying his brother Acrisius and regaining the Argolian throne. However, again just as in the Scriptural account, when there is a meeting of their two armies, it leads to a stand off between them. The two brothers, instead of fighting to the death, decide to split up the kingdom, Proetus taking Tiryns, while Acrisius retained the kingdom of Argolis. Quoting Apollodorus; "Acrisius gained the mastery and drove Proetus from Argos; and Proetus went to Lycia to the court of Iobates or, as some say, of Amphianax, and married his daughter, whom Homer calls Antia, but the tragic poets call her Stheneboea. His in-law restored him to his own land with an army of Lycians, … They divided the whole of the Argive territory between them and settled in it, Acrisius reigning over Argos and Proetus over Tiryns." (Apollodorus, Library 2.2.1; Paus. 2.16.2)
Take note in the preceding quote by Apollodorus of the apparent confusion concerning the names of the in-laws of Proetus. Apollodorus says that the Lycian father-in-law of Proetus was known as either Iobates, or Amphianax, whose daughter was know by two different names as well, Stheneboea and Antia. Even this confusion has it's Hebrew equivalent. At Genesis 26:34 Esau marries Basemath a daughter of the Hittite Elon. In Genesis 36:2 Esau marries Adah who is also Elon's daughter. Therefore Adah could be a sister of Basemath, or these could be two names for the same woman. In Genesis 28:9, Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael called Mahalath, who has a sister named Nebaioth. Then at Genesis 36:3 Esau marries (another?) Basemath, who is also said to be the daughter of Ishmael and a sister of Nebaioth. You can see that the chances for some confusion among these names is great. Were there two Basemaths, with Esau having two fathers-in-law and four wives between them? Or were there only two wives, each named Basemath and each known by two different names? Then again there could have been three wives, one of whom (either Basemath number one, or Basemath number two) was known by two different names. It is even possible that this confusion amounts to only one father-in-law who was known by the two different names, Elon and Ishmael, who had a daughter that was known by three names, Basemath, Adah, and Mahalah. It is therefore no wonder that the Greeks had given two different names for the father-in-law of Proetus, and two names for his wife. In fact this name confusion is something that both the Greek and Hebrew accounts have in common, and helps us to associate the two stories.
That the Greeks referred to the Hittites as Lycians is natural and not a matter of inconsistency. The Greeks did not use the term Hittite even though we know that most of Asia Minor was within the Hittites realm and the Greeks were certainly familiar with Asia Minor. Lycia was within the Hittite sphere and spoke a Hittite Language called "Luwian." In fact, many modern linguists consider the Lycian language to be the purest representation of the ancient Hittite language to have survived the Iron Age. The Lycians were allies of the Hittites against the Egyptians who called them "Lukka." To the Hittites they were a member-state of the Assuwa (Asia?) league. The Assuwa league was defeated and absorbed into the Hittite Empire. After the collapse of the Hittite Empire, the Lycians were considered to be one of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms. Modern historians consider the Scriptural Hittites also to be Neo-Hittites, therefore the relationship between Esau's Hittites, and the Lycians of Proetus, is no obstacle to the theory here presented.
Acrisius, the Greek version of Israel, had a daughter named Danae, who had gotten ravaged during the course of these dynastic struggles. While Israel himself had a daughter named Dinah, who also was ravaged. The two stories, the Greek one known as "the rape of Danae" and the Hebrew one known as "the rape of Dinah," are quite comparable, and not only in the similarities of their names. Robert Graves, in book 1 of his two volume work, "the Greek myths," (60.1,3) says that the Greek Danae was called, by the Hebrews, Dinah. Perhaps by way of explanation he intimates earlier in his book, that the Danaans who told her story, were part of a group of "early arriving Helladic colonists from Palestine." Parallels between the stories of the two maiden daughters abound. In each case the analogous virgin was thought to have been raped by the enemy of her father and, also in each case, revenge had been taken against this enemy. We also learn, whether in the Hebrew story or in the Greek rendition of it, that the respective despoilers had actually fallen in love with, each their own version of, the victimized maiden.
I am personally of the opinion that the character of Dinah was, at one time, more than simply a human woman. Perhaps her story was an allegorical one, told to teach about the story of the nation of Israel itself, which was also often referred to as the "Virgin of Israel." The nation of Israel was often referred to as a "woman," and the "maiden," and the "virgin," she was known as Zion (or Jerusalem) and called the "bride," or "wife," of God. ("Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing." Jeremiah 18:13, "Again I will build thee, and thou shall be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shall again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shall go forth in the dances of them that make merry." Jeremiah 31:4, "...O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter?..." Jeremiah 31:21,22, "The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up." Amos 5:2.) The case of Dinah may have been a kind of "reverse euhemerization," where an emblematic figure was transferred into an historic personage, she was after all, "the virgin daughter of Israel." The well known female personification, the totem, of the nation of Israel had committed her "whoring" with the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. The story of the "rape" of Dinah, in the form that it survives down to us in the Scriptures seems to me, like a way to mitigate the guilt of the "virgin." I am convinced that there was, at one time, more to the story of Dinah that would have displayed it as a more obvious "foreshadowing" of what was to become of the nation of Israel, but it has been expunged from the Scriptural record.
The Scriptural account in Genesis offers no mention of any offspring as the result of Dinah's rape, this seems odd to me because the Jewish legends clearly do. The Midrash Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer (Chap. 38) records a view that Asenath (the wife of Joseph, and mother of Ephraim and Manasseh,) was actually the daughter of Joseph's sister Dinah, conceived in her rape at Shechem. Ginzberg's "Jewish Legends" also make the same allegation. Furthermore, the Greek renditions, which include not only the Argolian tale known as "the rape of Danae" but also a Corinthian story called "the rape of Aegina," both involve a resultant child. The progeny of Danae include Perseus and Heracles, both highly Messianic characters, Heracles in particular injures his foot while slaying a serpent, the Lernian Hydra. Later Heracles sacrifices himself on his own Golgotha because the Hydra blood had poisoned him (accordingly he was resurrected to immortality on Olympus). The rape of Aegina produced the line that lead to Achilles (another, clearly Messianic hero who could not be killed, accept for a wound in his "heel"). In regards to the allegation that Asenath was the daughter of Dinah, there is perhaps some Scriptural evidence, for the Scriptures clearly enumerate 70 individual children of Israel who had originally sojourned to the land of Egypt; "These are the names of the children of Israel," (Gen. 46:8-27), and there are indeed 70 names which follow, that is there are 70 only if you include that of Asenath, the wife of Joseph (the last line of this catalog does seem to be additional, but clearly states "all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten."). Thereby indicating that Asenath was indeed thought, by someone once upon a time, to be one of the "souls of the house of Jacob."
An original version of this tale, no doubt included the point that Dinah (as an allegorical representation of the nation of Israel itself) left ancestors as a result of her "rape." As to why there is no mention of this in Genesis I would say; Perhaps the Jewish editors of the Scriptures were well aware of the Allegorical association between Dinah and their national personification, "the Virgin of Israel." They also knew that the Messiah was to be born of "the Virgin" (indicating that He would be an Israelite). However they promoted the Davidic Messiah (as opposed to the Ephraimitic, or otherwise known as the Messiah ben Joseph), and were not inclined to report that a descendant of Dinah through Asenath (as the wife of Joseph) would lend allegorical credibility to the concept of the "Messiah ben Joseph," a parallel, but sometimes thought to be competing, Messianic tradition.
Another, quite revealing, "coincidence" between the Greek and Hebrew stories, concerned the confinement of their respective maidens, and occurs in the Jewish legends as follows; "Jacob ... when he was preparing to meet his brother, he concealed his daughter Dinah in a chest, lest Esau desire to have her for wife, and he be obliged to give her to him." (from Ginzberg "Jewish Legends") Compare this, very rare motif, to the Greek account given by Apollodorus; "Acrisius built a brazen chamber under ground and there guarded Danae. However, she was seduced, as some say, by Proetus, whence arose the quarrel between them" (Apollodorus 2.4.1). Take note that here Apollodorus not only helps us to associate the legendary story of the confinement of Dinah to that of Danae, but also helps to identify Esau with Proetus.
In the Greek myth, Danae was kept in a chamber in order to maintain her virginity. She was despoiled never-the-less, so she and her child were condemned to die. The instrument of their death was also a chest. These Hebrew and Greek references to a "chamber" or "chest" were apparently symbolic, the meaning of the symbol is plausibly the "Ark" of the Covenant as the physical representation of the Law. The idea of "confining the Virgin to the Law (the chest or Ark)" was intended to keep her from corrupting herself (as the nation of Israel) with the practices of the surrounding Canaanite nations. Once defiled she would produce a "tainted" Messiah whom the same Law would be compelled to condemn. However, the prophecy concerning the Messiahship of her child would still have to be fulfilled, and the young hero would be destined to survive his death sentence.
For those who wish to read the legendary version of the Shechem incident, this tradition is outlined in Ginzberg's "Jewish Legends" in a chapter entitled "The Outrage at Shechem" For the legendary story that the daughter of Dinah was also the same person as Joseph's wife Asenath in Egypt, the chapter name is, "The Wives of the Sons of Jacob."
Another parallel exists between the two characters, Jacob and Acrisius. The circumstances of Jacob's birth, "And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob:" (Gen 25:26), and the meaning of his name, as "the supplanter of the heel" would seem to indicate that Jacob held a special relationship to the famous Messianic prophecy that was promised at the Edenic transgression (Genesis 3:15). Indeed, it was certainly part of the inheritance, and blessing of the covenant with God, that he had supplanted from his elder twin brother. This combined with the prophecy given before his birth that "the elder shall serve the younger." (Gen 25:23), is perhaps why the Greek Acrisius is said to have received the prophecy that he so dreaded. This prophecy may have been deemed to await a "double fulfillment" one for the life of Jacob in relation to Esau, but another, macro-fulfillment for the nation of Israel itself, where the "elder" more established dynasty of Israelite kings would be replaced by a "younger," new Messianic king in the form of a child who was yet to be born. Thus giving any ruler of Israel (Acrisius being herein presented as a Greek adaptation of Israel himself) cause to fear the coming child.
The theme so saying that the king would be overthrown by a child who would be born, was widely attested to in both Hebrew and Greek cultures. It was told of Nimrod in regard to Abraham, Pharaoh in regard to Moses, and Herod in regard to Jesus, among the Hebrews; and among the Greeks there was, Kronos regarding Zeus, Zeus regarding the son of Thetis, Pelias had his Jason, and the subject of the present article Acrisius, was also a king of this type. The theme of the wounded heel is so often referred to, as to defy any argument that it is the result of mere coincidence. Heracles, destroying the hydra, was wounded on the foot as he stepped on and crushed the hydra's ally, Cancer the crab. This episode was to spell the doom of Hercules, for he was eventually to die from the poison of the hydra. Eurydice stepped upon a snake, was bitten in the foot, and died. And let us not forget Achilles, who was immortal accept for his heel, in which he received his mortal wound. But, perhaps the earliest use among the Greeks, of the ancient Hebrew "bruising of the heel" motif, occurs in the story of Acrisius, our Greek parallel to Jacob/Israel. For just as was the dynasty of Israel, so was the dynasty of Acrisius, plagued by an impending prophetic doom. A prophecy had proclaimed that the King of Argolis would be killed, and the fulfillment of it came just as the old Hebrew messianic promise had foretold. The predicted death of Acrisius came as the result of a wound in the foot. "Teutamides, king of Larissa, was holding athletic games in honor of his dead father, and Perseus came to compete. He engaged in the pentathlon, but in throwing the quoit he struck Acrisius on the foot and killed him instantly." (Apollodorus 2.4.4).
The supposition that the story of Jacob was brought by Danite colonists to Greece where it appears as the myth of Acrisius, leads me to suppose that the Edenic promise could have accompanied it in the same way. However, the notion that this promise should be applied by the Greeks to Acrisius is not satisfying. Acrisius does not seem very Messianic. Unlike the fate of Acrisius, the wound in the heel is thought to imply only a temporary death with a resurrection and/or apotheosis attached. It is the wound in the head that has the more permanent outcome. Accordingly some mythographers such as Hyginus, with deference to the previous quote by Apollodorus, claim that the wound of Acrisius was in the head; "Perseus swore an oath to his grandfather that he would never kill him. When Acrisius was detained there by a storm, Polydectes died, and at his funeral games the wind blew a discus from Perseus' hand at Acrisius' head which killed him. Thus what he did not do of his own will was accomplished by the gods." (Hyginus, fabulae 63). At any rate, the death of Jacob is not like either version of the death of Acrisius, and the oracle employed in the Greek myth has more to do with the birth of the heroic man-child who would be born to the virgin, than it has to do with the death of his grandfather. It is more likely that the origin of the oracle against Acrisius stems from the identification of his grandson Perseus with Moses, for Moses, raised by the daughter of Pharaoh, did bring about the death of, not his natural grandfather, but his foster grandfather, the Pharaoh.
As the book of Genesis comes to it's end, we learn that the Hebrew patriarch Israel, and Dinah as well, had to leave his inherited kingdom after all. Driven by a famine he left the promised land and he went into Egypt, leaving his brother Esau behind in the kingdom uncontested. The scriptural account then goes on at this point to tell the story of the Exodus. Returning to the Greek myths, we find from Ovid (Met. v. 238) that ultimately Proetus drove his twin Acrisius from the throne and out of Argolis, Hyginus says that Acrisius followed his daughter Danae and grandson Perseus to the land of their exile (Hyginus, fabulae 63), leaving his brother Proetus behind in the kingdom uncontested. This is the point in the Greek myth, where the story of the dynastic struggles over Argolis ends, and the story of Perseus begins. As we shall demonstrate later, the myth of Perseus can indeed be shown to be a Greek variant of the Hebrew story of the Exodus.
In conclusion, it may be stated succinctly; These Argolian Greeks (Danaans who, by their own account, came to Greece from Joppa only a few generations after their ancestors had come up out of the land of Egypt,) had a story so saying that they were descended from a great "father" figure (Genesis 17:4,5) of a pair of competing twins who quarreled even in the womb over their birthright (Genesis 25:22,23). The twins grew up to war over the Kingdom (Genesis 27:41,42). The brother who was supplanted went off to marry into a "Hittite" nation (Genesis 26:34), amongst whom he raised up an army with the intent to smite his twin who had supplanted him (Genesis 32:6-11). The armies met, but the brothers decided to split the Kingdom between them (Genesis 33:16). The supplanting twin had a virgin daughter who was raped (Genesis 34:1,2), and he eventually went to join his family, exiled in a foreign land (Genesis 46:6-8), from which they were, by an heroic descendant with divine assistance, brought back home through an epic deliverance (see the Exodus and compare it to the story of Perseus).
-John R. Salverda
Taken from: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?app=blog&blogid=2697&showentry=23278
Posted 07 March 2011