Was Sitchin right about 3600?
The figure of 3600 is a core component of the late Zecharia Sitchin’s vision and argument for the properties of his Planet X body, Nibiru. The number 3,600 stems from the unusual sexagesimal numbering system used by the Sumerians (1), and was known to them as the sar, or shar in Akkadian. I’ve often wondered why Sitchin decided on this number for the orbital period of Nibiru. Sitchin carefully thought things through before committing his ideas to paper, and such a central tenet of his work had to have something more behind it than an arbitrary choice from a series of important sexagesimal numbers. Aspects of his writings that mesh with this number pertain to:
- The Nippurian Tablets of Destinies (2)
- The Sumerian King Lists (3), where the length of the reigns of the ante-diluvian kings was measured in a combination of sars and ners (1 ner = 600 years) (4)
- Stages in human biological and social development over long periods of time (which Sitchin often pointed to as important markers for a return of the planet Nibiru) (5).
These, you might think, provide a fairly strong pointer towards cycles which might integrate with the return of Nibiru. However, note that the ante-diluvian King Lists, which seem to offer the most concrete correspondence with higher numbers in the Sumerian sexagesimal numbering system, require the inclusion of the ner, or 600 years. If the reigns of these early rulers were connected entirely to orbital periods of 3,600 years, then those of the last two ante-diluvian kings, En-men-dur-ana and Ubara-Tutu, were measured in part-orbits. So how would that work? Furthermore, after the purported Flood, Kingship came to the ancient Sumerian city of Kish, and the length of the reigns began to be measured in hundreds, rather than thousands of years.
So, there appears to be more flexibility built into these ancient chronologies than is suggested by simply alluding to the periodic return of a planet. Perhaps the central importance of the sar as a ‘princely’ or ‘royal’ number (6) was the crux of the matter? In which case, why chose 3,600 and not, say, the rather grander 36,000 (theSar’u in Old Babylonian) or even the Sar’ges (60x60x60=216,600) (7)? These numbers could just as adequately describe the long orbital period of a planet in a comet-like orbit.
I should be absolutely clear about this: There is nowhere in Mesopotamian writings where it is written “The orbit of the planet Nibiru is 3600 years”. To arrive at this conclusion Sitchin had to do some detective work, and make a lot of assumptions. In doing so, were there any other factors guiding his judgement?
Reading the latest book of his essays, I believe I’ve found the answer, and, I’m afraid, an argument about this number that many Sitchinites may not want to hear (in which case, look away now…).
As a Jewish scholar, Sitchin pored over Biblical texts and other Hebrew writings as thoroughly as he did the earlier ancient texts of Mesopotamia. In his wide reading, he discovered a possible correlation between the Babylonian sar and a journey of 3,500 years (8), mentioned in a conversation between a heretic and the Jewish savant Rabbi Gamliel: “…tradition avers that the distance between heaven and earth would take a journey of 3,500 years to cover.” (9) Sitchin then argued that this alluded to a journey to Nibiru, which in the Jewish text is referred to as a place called ‘Olam’:
“The numerous biblical verses in Olam appears indicate that it was deemed a physical place, not an abstraction. “Thou art from Olam,” the Psalmists declared – God is from a place which is a hidden place (and therefore God has been unseen). It was a place that was conceived as physically existing: Deuteronomy (33:15) and the Prophet Habakkuk (3:6) spoke of the “hills of Olam.” Isaiah (33:14) referred to the “heat sources of Olam.” Jeremiah (6:16) mentioned the “pathways of Olam” and (18:5) “the lanes of Olam,” and called Yahweh “king of Olam” (10:10) as did Psalms 10:16.” (8)
I find the ‘heat sources of Olam‘ a particularly intriguing reference! Other translations of Olam opt for terms like ‘everlasting’ and ‘eternity’, but Sitchin put forward a cogent argument that these later translations into English are misguided, and that Olam “is the term which stands for world” (8).
In the discussion between the rabbi and the heretic, Earth and Olam are separated by seven heavens, each of 500 years. Hence, as Sitchin put it: “…The complete journey through seven heavens from the world called Earth to the world that is the Divine Abode lasts 3,500 years.” (8) He then argued that this approximates to the orbital period of Nibiru, which he determines to be 3,600 years, and hence Nibiru’s orbit is confirmed by this ancient Hebrew text.
However, that’s not exactly what is described here. The journey through the seven heavens is between one location and another that lasts 3,500 years, not the time it takes a world to periodically return. Indeed, one can quite imagine that the Jewish scribe of this text could have indicated such a return easily by using terms like ‘the return of the Kingdom of God’, or similar. Instead, what we have here is the description of a linear journey between Earth and another world which takes the traveller 3,500 years. The implication of this is that incredibly long space journeys between Earth and Olam (corresponding, Sitchin argues, to the Sumerian Nibiru) must be made by the traveller seeking a destination beyond the seven heavens (which one might readily assume to be the other 7 planets in the solar system; the dwarf planet/KBO Pluto being defunct).
One might argue, then, that this reference is made to the frequency with which these journeys are made, and that those journeys are best made when Nibiru (Olam) is at its closest aspect, during its perihelion passage which Sitchin argued reaches as close to Earth as the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. But, again, this is not actually what is said in this text, and given Sitchin’s proclivity for taking these writings extremely literally, that must provide food for thought.
So, in the context of last month’s sensational announcement of the highly probable existence of ‘Planet Nine’ by Dr Brown of Caltech (10), and the various factors which seem to link that proposed body with some of Sitchin’s other orbital descriptions (long ellipse, orbital inclination, perihelion/aphelion positions) (11), then does this ancient Jewish description make more sense of what we’re looking for? I would say so, yes. I would say this indicates that Olam is located way beyond the seven other solar system planets, and must be reached via a mind-boggling long journey through space, perhaps by some kind of celestial ‘ferry’ of as yet unknown provenance (like a comet?).
Once this ‘Planet Nine’ is discovered, perhaps ‘Olam’ would make a rather fine name for it?
8th February 2016
1) J. O’Connor and E. Robertson “Babylonian numerals” http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Babylonian_numerals.html
2) Zecharia Sitchin “The Cosmic Code” p176, Avon, 1998
3) Zecharia Sitchin “When Time Began” p10, Avon, 1993
4) Sumerian King List https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_King_List
5) Zecharia Sitchin “The Twelfth Planet” p415, Avon, 1976
6) Zecharia Sitchin “Genesis Revisited” p212, Avon, 1990
7) ‘Dr Jaime’ “Babylonian Numbers” http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52519.html
8) J. Sitchin (Ed) “The Anunnaki Chronicles”, pp148-152 Bear & Co, 2015, in the essay “God the Extraterrestrial”, from Z. Sitchin “Divine Encounters” 1996
9) S.M. Lehrman “The World of the Midrash” Thomas Yoseloff (1961)
10) Andy Lloyd “Massive Planet X Now Urgently Sought by Top Planet-Hunters” 20th – 23rd January 2016 http://www.andylloyd.org/darkstarblog34.htm
11) Andy Lloyd “Planet Nine Constellations Predicted by Sitchin, and IRAS” 26th January 2016 http://www.andylloyd.org/darkstarblog34.htm