Above: The name Pinehas spelled in Proto-Sinaitic characters - a kind of reformed Egyptian


Was a Grandson of Aaron the First Black Hebrew Priest?

This article discusses scriptural evidence that the curse which kept righteous black men from holding the Priesthood (Abraham 1:26) may have been abrogated, or at least exempted long ago.


The Bible's account of Noah’s curse appears to focus on Canaan son of Ham. (Genesis 9:22-27) But Hebrew scripture makes clear that that Egyptians descended from Mizraim son of Ham (son of Noah, Genesis 10:6, Psalm 105:23). In fact, the Hebrew word translated “Egypt”, is “Mitsrayim” (masculine), or “Mitsraymah” (feminine, Genesis 12:10).

Does the Book of Abraham then suggest that descendents of Ham intermingled; so that kings of Egypt, “cursed ... as pertaining to the Priesthood”, were directly related to Canaan the cursed brother of Mizraim? (Abraham 1:21, 24-27) Did Canaan have a son by Mitsraymah (Egyptes) the sister/spouse of Mistrayim? One might suppose that descendents of other sons of Ham (Cush and Phut) intermarried.

On the other hand, could a line of Phut (פּוּט son of Ham and Zeptah?) have kept from mingling with the mixed line of Canaan and Mizraim? Consider Potiphera (פוֹטִי פֶרַע) Priest of On. (Genesis 41:45) Or were all the descendents of Ham cursed? (Abraham 1:22)

LDS scripture provides a potential solution to why "Canaan" is exclusively mentioned in Noah's prophetic imprecation. "Canaan" in Moses 7:6-12 (at least in translation), is the name of a reproached antediluvian people:

JST Genesis 7 verses 4-9    Evening and Morning Star Extract, May 1831

On the Left: A passage in the edited Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (Inspired Version, Genesis 7:6-14) reads “Cainan” instead of "Canaan". On the right: “Extract from the Prophecy of Enoch”, The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol. 1, Aug. 1832, pg. 44. Note the use of “Canaan”, as in Moses 7:6-12. “Canaan” exists in the Bible as a post-flood name. The name may have a derisive connotation suggestion one worthy of humiliation.

The name "Canaan" from the root "kana", may be a homophonous stigmatization of a name that originally referenced "Cain", the root "qanah", or "qayin".

Israelites allied with, and intermingled with African converts. Israelites had already intermingled with Canaanites before the Egyptian bondage. (Genesis 38:2-5; 46:10, Exodus 6:13-15)

Read Numbers 25:7-13, and consider the Egyptian meaning of the name Phinehas. Consider also the possible meaning of the name Putiel (Grandfather of Phinehas, on his mother’s side).

And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;

And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

10  And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:

13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:7-13, KJV)


Regarding the name Pinehas (Phinehas), the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon states:


פִּינְחָס S 6372 GK 709025 (Egyptian Pe-nehasi , the negro , according to Lauth Moses (1868), 71, ZMG xxv (1871), 139 f. cf. Nes Eg 112, AJSL xiii (1897) 174 Baen Ex 6:2 5, yet
v. Di) ;— 1. grandson of Aaron, Φ(ε)ινεες , Ex 6:25 Nu 25:7 + 16 times 2. son of Eli 1 S 1:3, ( פ ִּנְחָם ... ( פִּנְחָם


Like the name Mosheh (Moses), the name Pinehas (Phinehas) may have both Egyptian and Hebrew meanings. Pinehas sounds a little like “paneh nehushah”, meaning “face of bronze” in Hebrew. This aptly describes the complexion of one whose father is a Semite and whose mother is African. The name Pinehas also sounds a little like “pi nahash”, meaning “mouth of a serpent” in Hebrew - though this expression is not spelled the same as Pinehas (Phinehas). Unfortunately "mouth of a serpent" is the only interpretation that some sources assign to the name Phinehas.




Click on the above acrophonic symbols spelling out the name Pinehas. It is believed that these symbols were borrowed long ago from Egyptian hieroglyphs. Read from right to left, one may see in the symbols the mouth, even the forked tongue (forearm symbol suggesting take in “hand”, “throw”) of a snake. Include a tent wall, and a symbol for pierce, and the characters adumbrate the rest of the story in Numbers 25:6-8, while spelling out an Egyptian word for African, or person with dark skin.


For the names Put and Puti-El (Putiel, Exodus 6:25) the Lexicon states:

פּוּט  S 6316 GK 7033 gent. prob. Libyans , or Lib. tribe; usually named with African peoples: Na 3:9 Je 46:9 Ez 27:1 0; 30:5 ; 38:5 ( usually Λίβυες ); Gn 10:6

( P ) = 1 Ch 1:8 ( Φουδ ); + Is 66:19 (for MT פּוּל ; Φουδ ),— vid. Di Gn 10:6 Jen ZA x. 325 ff. .

פּוּטִיאֵל  S 6317 GK 7034 Eleazar’s father-in-law Ex 6:25 , Φουτιηλ .

The Bible states:


25 And Eleazar Aaron’s son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families. (Exodus 6:25, KJV)


Could the name Putiel mean “Putite of God”, indicating an African worshiper of El (אל)? A mixed company of liberated peoples came out of Egypt with the Israelites. (Exodus 12:37-38) More than Semites turned to the worship of El. Moses took to wife an Ethiopian (Cushite). (Numbers 12:1)


7 Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? (Amos 9:7, KJV; see also 2 Nephi 26:33)


Adonai forbade mixing different kinds of livestock, crop seeds, and certain fabrics. Consider Vayiqra 19:19, and Devarim 22:11. But when it comes to the mixed multitude that is his people, the LORD is concerned with mixing outside the covenant with false religions. Hence Numbers 25:1-3, 5-8, Psalm 106:28-31.

Did the curse and prohibition extend to the Latter-days?

The Latter-day Priesthood prohibition was not clearly put in place by the Prophet Joseph Smith. It’s a historical fact that the Prophet allowed Priesthood authority to be conferred on black men. The later prohibition policy was likely instigated by well meaning Church members who, with some presumption, thought that scriptures like Abraham 1:26 ought to apply to brethren of African descent in the Latter-days. Did they not consider that such a blanket, prohibition may be inconsistent with the New and Everlasting Covenant? Church members went as far as to popularize an unscriptural, pre-mortal existence explanation for why blacks could not hold the Priesthood. Did Church members not consider that even if the curse was not gone from the world, the prohibition was at least open to exception?

Now that the prohibition policy has been revoked pre-millennial reign, was it all just a mistake? Or can some justification for it be found in the restoration of all things? (LDS D&C 86:10)

Had members of the Church, understood the scriptures better, they may have learned more about Phinehas and his grandfather Putiel. They may have come to consider that though the curse was in force in the world, the ancient prohibition was done away in the New Covenant, that Joseph Smith was right to allow the bestowal of Priesthood authority on black men.

But notwithstanding her divine authority, the Church was darkened in mind and “under condemnation”. She was commanded to “repent and remember the new covenant ...” (LDS D&C 84:54-57)

Imagine if Church members had studied their scriptures enough to perceive that the mother of Phinehas the priest was probably black. Perhaps this view could have helped prevent some heartache, misunderstanding, and embarrassment caused by over generalizing scriptures like Abraham 1:26-27 and Moses 7:22.

Incidentally, in at least one instance in scripture, very light skin was recognized as an inherited curse among Hebrews. (2 Kings 5:27)

Notes: Moses 7:8 should arguably read "...children of Cainan...", spelled with the same letters as the antediluvian name "Cain". (Moses 7:22) The post flood name "Canaan" has a very different spelling and meaning. See NOAH'S VOYAGE from AMERICA. Still, Noah's curse (or prophecy of the continuation of an antediluvian curse in his own family) could have intended a play on words between the name Canaan, and the name of a cursed antediluvian people, possible ancestors of his grandson. (Moses 8:12) In light of a possible meaning of the name "Canaan" ("humbled", "humiliated") one wonders if the son of Ham was originally named "Cainan", the name being changed to "Canaan" as a result of Noah's prophetic imprecation. (Genesis 9:24-27)

We should also remember God's blessing of Noah and his sons. (Genesis 9:1)

According to the KJV, one of the twelve was "Simon the Canaanite". (Matthew 10:4) B'sorot Matti (Hebrew Matthew) shows that the disciple's name is actually "Shim'on the merchant".

Ironically, there is a commonality between the Priesthood (Kehunah, Kehunah, LDS Doctrine and Covenants 107:1-5) and the curse of Canaan (Kna'an, Kna'an); for in receiving the Holy Priesthood one also becomes “a servant of servants”. (Genesis 9:25) Was not the consecration of Levite priests, who were set apart to serve the land holding tribes of Israel, a blessing that followed after a curse? (Genesis 49:5-7, Numbers 18:1, Bemidbar 18:1)

Hebrew scripture indicates that Phinehas was given “an everlasting Priesthood” of “righteousness”. See Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:1-2, “Melchizedek” and compare with Exodus 40:12-15.


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