and even prominent people in Israel (Numbers 25: 14) were
disobeying God by ‘interacting’ with outsiders.
Judges 3: 31 and 5: 6 give a brief mention of a judge
named Shamgar, the son of Anath. His father’s name is
Jael, who is known for having driven a tent peg through
the temple of Sisera, the oppressor of Israel during the
judgeship of Deborah (Judges 4), was married to Heber the
Kenite. Jael is praised by Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:
6, 24–27), and has an Israelite name meaning ‘ibex’, but she
was married to a non-Israelite descendent of Jethro.
Sampson took a wife from the Philistines (Judges 14: 1).
The Philistines were in the land back in Abraham’s day
(Genesis 21: 32). Archeologically and biblically they have
deep connections with ‘Hamitic’ Crete (Deuteronomy 2: 23;
Amos 9: 7; Jeremiah 47: 4). After the murder of his wife,
Sampson lay with a Philistine prostitute (Judges 16: 1).
Sampson’s more famous partner, Delilah, was also a
Philistine (Judges 16: 4). No children are recorded from
any of his dalliances (legitimate or otherwise), but one can
see the potential for genetic mixing among neighbours from
Ruth, the great-grandmother of David (Ruth 4: 18–22),
was a Moabite (Ruth 1: 4). As mentioned earlier, the
Moabites descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot and
one of Lot’s daughters (Genesis 19: 37). They were also
excluded from the assembly by Deuteronomy 23: 4–8, which
technically should have excluded Ruth and David! 21 And
even though they are recorded as having died, let us not
forget that Naomi’s two Jewish sons had married Moabite
women (Ruth 1: 4).
David’s sister Abigail had a son named Amasa (who later
joined Absalom in his rebellion) by a man named Jether
the Ishmaelite ( 1 Chronicles 2: 17; 2 Samuel 17: 25–26).
An even more distant relative of David had no sons, so he
gave his daughter to his Egyptian servant Jarha, who then
founded a long line of descendants ( 1 Chronicles 2: 34–41),
all of whom would have carried an Egyptian Y chromosome.
This is the second mention of a non-Israelite Y chromosome
entering the population (this time successfully), but certainly
these are not all! Yet another distant relative of David, a
man named Mered, had two wives. One of them is named
Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, through whom he had
three children ( 1 Chronicles 4: 17–18).
Since she is the mother of King Solomon ( 2 Samuel 12: 24),
Bathsheba has an important role in biblical history. Although
her name (“daughter of an oath”) is clearly Hebrew in origin,
she was first married to Uriah, the Hittite ( 2 Samuel 11: 3).
The Hittites are mentioned several times in the Bible (see
Genesis 23 for example). If she and Uriah had any children,
what would their status have been?
After David became king, he wanted to bring the Ark of
the Covenant from Kiriath Jearim, where it ended up after
the Philistines returned it ( 1 Samuel 6:1–7: 2), to Jerusalem.
But after Uzzah was killed when he touched the Ark, they
brought the Ark to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. God
blessed Obed-Edom while the Ark was with him ( 2 Samuel
6: 5–12). Was he a Philistine, as his name might suggest? 22
David also married Maacah, daughter of the King of
Geshur ( 2 Samuel 3: 3; 1 Chronicles 3: 3) and mother of
Absalom and Tamar ( 2 Samuel 13: 1). Tamar’s status as a
half-breed technically excluded from the ‘assembly’ partially
explains the tragic episode of 2 Samuel 13. But Absalom’s
Figure 3. While this map is better than most attempts at delineating
the geographic locations of the various biblical tribes, it fails to take into
account that extensive mixing would continually be occurring among
the neighbouring peoples. Also, the Table of Nations (Genesis 10) upon
which it based was a one-off document that gave only a rough location
of the tribes within a certain distance of the writer and at a specific time.
Since humanity is in a constant state of flux, one should not assume this
is a static situation. Genes ‘flow’ much more rapidly than most people
assume, genetically homogenizing neighboring cultures. This is the reason
why there are no ‘Jewish’ genes. They are a Middle Eastern people group,
with typical Middle Eastern genes, who derive from a mixture of ancestral
stocks, and who have mixed extensively with the people among whom
they have lived from the ancient past until today.