Scripture’s Contrived History

According to scriptural accounts a Jewish kingdom of Israel was welded in the land of Canaan by David, and his kingdom is portrayed as having prospered as a great unified kingdom under David’s son, Solomon.  That account was long accepted as a given truth by biblical scholars until the science of archaeology showed conclusively that the claimed powerful kingdom said to have been ruled from Jerusalem could not have existed as portrayed in the priest-writings.  No hard archaeological evidence has ever been found to support the priest compiled story, but has revealed instead that Jerusalem was simply a modest, economically borderline village in the era when David, Solomon and Rehoboam (son of Solomon) are claimed to have ruled. 

Archaeology has revealed that the territory north of Jerusalem in the claimed timeframe was considerably more populated and flourishing economically than the region around Jerusalem.  However, in biblical myth the northern territory is claimed to have broken away from the alleged unified kingdom under Solomon’s son (c. 931-913 BCE), and developed as the kingdom of Israel.  Both territorial areas did worship YHWH among other gods, spoke dialects of Hebrew, and wrote in the same script, but the southern territory (Judah) became more developed much later than the northern; it had remained sparse due to its more rugged terrain.  The bond of blood kinship of the northern and southern territories was openly acknowledged, but they had become politically divided.  Until the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians (c. 734 BCE), the little “kingdom” of Judah languished in the shadow of Israel.  The fall of Israel was a blessing for the priests based in the village of Jerusalem who had long lusted to impose their method of religious observance upon all Hebrew people and wished to make the temple in Jerusalem the holiest place of their faith. 

Josiah, son and successor of Judah’s King Amon, came to the throne at the age of eight (c. 639 BCE), and was tutored by priests during his youth.  Because of this background Josiah soon reestablished the worship of Yahweh/Jehovah.  And it was during Josiah’s reign, apparently by divine providence, that a book of law was allegedly discovered by the high-priest Hilkiah when workmen were repairing the temple (as recorded in II Kings 22).  Josiah was inspired by the miraculously produced writing which has ever since been accepted as the book of Deuteronomy, supposedly the work of Moses.  Deuteronomy only recapitulated the law already recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, but the framework in which the laws are set is notably (suspiciously) different from that of the other codes.  Notable in Deuteronomy is the contention that the Exodus version of the Covenant with Yahweh/God at Sinai was not made on the basis of the Decalogue; instead it is implied that only ten laws (Commandments) were given to the people at Sinai, with the rest delivered to Moses alone, and promulgated later at the Jordan.  This conveniently allowed enormous leeway for the high-priest Hilkiah to restructure and reform religious practice that gave greater prominence to themes of God’s sovereignty, justice, mercy and love rather than to outward observances of ritual and ceremonial emphasis.  In the discovered sermon of Moses it reads, “For you are a people consecrated to Yahweh your Elohim; it is you that Yahweh our Elohim has chosen to be his very own people out of all the peoples of the earth.”  This happily aligned priestly ambitions with that of Josiah’s inherited  dominion, and just happened to inspire a narrow national outlook.

With Israel reduced to secondary power and refugees fleeing south into Judah, the priests devoted to YHWH moved to expand, and they established shrines and sanctuaries at Dan and Bethel.  And as refugees poured in from the north the Yahweh priests in Jerusalem quickly embarked on a prodigious propaganda campaign of rewriting history and codifying material that now makes up the early books of the Old Testament.  Additional books were compiled to promote the impression that the little kingdom of Judah had been divinely ordained.  To account for the alleged split in the united kingdom into rival kingdoms, the blame for it was given with the myth of Solomon having his heart turned from YHWH by his foreign wives.  Sadly, for trusting believers, over one hundred years of intensive archaeology investigation have never been able to confirm David or Solomon as historical persons.

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