Archive for Israelites

Disguised Background of Moses Epoch

Posted in belief, Bible, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by chouck017894

The timeframe upon which the Moses epoch was loosely structured was most probably c. 1576-1490 BCE. This was a particularly rough period for planet Earth and turmoil had continued for centuries following the earlier frightening event when a rogue planet-sized comet had lunged out of the skies from the general direction of planet Jupiter. Electromagnetic imbalance in the solar system resulted in interplanetary disturbances, and cultures worldwide were dramatically affected. In the following timeframe 1490-1480 BCE, for example, the royal city of Ugarit went down in flames, and in this same timeframe the cities of Troy, Knossos and the walled cities in the Indus Valley were also destroyed. Using the 1480 BCE date as anchor-point (which lasted to at least around 1200 BCE) not only the Hebrews (who were cast by priest authors as Israelites) but people everywhere suffered through worldwide calamities.

If this was the broad timeframe in which Moses allegedly heard God speak to him personally from a burning bush, he would have been around eighty years old (if he had been born c. 1576 BCE–one of the numerous dates that are debated). The approximate earlier date 1486 BCE is also often associated with the Exodus and the Moses tale. Still another date often theorized as the Moses saga is the 1480 BCE timeframe, which happened to be when Thutmose III came of age and officially became pharaoh of Egypt; until then his mother Queen Hatshepsut, wife of Thutmose II, had overseen her son’s duties in his name. (Note the mose part of the names.)

The plagues which Hebrew Scriptures (Exodus) claim was God’s way of affirming his favoritism for the Israelites and his divine prejudice against the Egyptians is largely priestly liberty with actual planetary circumstances. The plagues in the setting used for the Moses epoch were not peculiar to that narrowly focused region of the world. Worldwide upheavals in this period also plunged the Phoenician trading empire into decline due to the fall of so many trading partners. Indeed, much of this was recorded by Chaldeans, Hebrews, Greeks, Minoan Cretans, Egyptians, East Indians, Chinese, and even the South American Mayans. In the priestly accounts (as in Jeremiah 7:20) God is quoted as saying, “Look! My anger and my rage are being poured forth upon this place, upon mankind and upon domestic animals, and upon the tree of the field and upon the fruitage of the ground; and it must burn, and it will not be extinguished.” This is how holy hatred is glorified.

The unstable planetary conditions which lasted for generations were drawn upon by later priest authors for their own advantage. As portrayed by the priests, God is claimed to have spoken to Moses from a thick cloud upon Mount Sinai saying, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (some translations incorrectly interpret this as out of the “house of slavery”). About this time, according to scriptures, God promised the Israelites that if they obeyed his “laws” (as interpreted by the priests, of course) they would prosper from what amounted to his conditional love. Thus were the Exodus 19:4-6 verses reinforced in which God supposedly said, “…you shall be to me a nation of priests and a holy nation.” The tone of this claim of selectivity rather tarnishes its credibility as spiritual truth.

The date most commonly given for the death of Moses is 1456 BCE. In the book of Deuteronomy 32:49 and 34:1, written long after the depicted wandering events (probably written by the High Priest Hilikiah in Jerusalem in seventh century BCE) Moses is averred to have died atop Mount Pisgah after viewing the Promise Land. This mount is identified with Mount Nebo, a mountain in Moab near the north end of the Dead Sea (and where later Jeremiah supposedly hid the Ark of the Covenant). This Mount was from ancient times held to be dedicated to the Sumerian-Assyrian-Babylonian god Nebo, the son of Marduk chief god of ancient Babylon, who bore the title of “Ilu-tashmit,” meaning god of revelations, and he was regarded as a soothsayer or prophet. From this the Hebrew word for prophet became nabi or nebi.

Many features of the Moses saga clearly indicate that the priest-written “history” actually concerns the process of energy involvement and development into matter form (Creation activity), not of some selected human leader who escorted “bound” Hebrews to a new location. Just as with the parting of water in Genesis, the waters are parted for Moses and the Israelites (elementary particles) to move into diverse and defined life archetypes. Indeed this is what is alluded in Exodus 33:20-23 where Moses, symbol of the Life Principle, is told by God, “Thou canst not see my face…” “…thou shalt see my back parts”—a clear reference to the primal condition from which life is made manifest. The fabled character of Moses can never see God’s front parts–the evolutionary results–because he symbolizes the energy action of the Life Principle up to where pre-physical energies begin to congeal and transform into material-matter form. And this is why Moses must “die” when that objective is within sight. It is therefore a certainty that “…no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day.” (Deuteronomy 34:6–written c. 8th century BCE)

Among the divine mysteries of this tale none is more puzzling than the manner in which the Lord is alleged to have fed the starving Israelites in the “wilderness.” According to the priest-written account over six hundred thousand Israelites were miraculously fed with manna. The Israelites were depicted as on the verge of annihilation and a somewhat indifferent Creator sent them only a microscopic form of nourishment. As claimed in the text, “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as hoarfrost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is Manna; for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given us to eat.” (Exodus 16:14-15) HUH? Is it wise to believe that over six hundred thousand starving persons were given “bread” as small as hoarfrost as sustenance? This story feature clearly attests that the chronicle of Exodus is not history but is allegory of the Creation process, and the “hoarfrost” refers to elementary particles being infused with subatomic elements. Everything which is made manifest as matter-form is nourished by subatomic particles.

Perhaps the most honored part of the Moses saga is of God making Moses the bearer of the Ten Commandments to the stranded Israelites. Strangely, these Commandments passed through several transformations of their own, and became guidelines for moral/ethical conduct only after 700 BCE–and which were again rewritten in 400 BCE. The earliest intention in the “Commandments” which Moses would have received and relayed from the personified Source of Creation certainly could not have been in regard to moral and ethical behavior in the “wilderness” (prototypal conditions). Moses, traditionally revered as the “Law Giver”, is depicted as having descended from an ecstatic rendezvous with the Lord on Mount Sinai. The law-giver is commonly pictured as standing erect with the “laws” which he carried etched upon two stones . This image indicates allegorically that the “laws” did not originally concern moral conduct among physical beings but concerned the principles of genetics. All that could have been decreed there in those primal circumstances (“wilderness”) would concern genetic purity–the “law” of Creation which established that like is to beget like. This is Creation’s powerful “law” which carries weight far beyond the principle of genetic reproduction; it applies equally to each individual’s thought patterns which determine each person’s lifestyle and how they interact with others. Lost in this self-serving scriptural storytelling style is that this “law” of like must beget like also brings reprisal after its own kind. Thus this “law” of reproductive energy indeed supports divine advice to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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Miriam, Sister of Moses and Aaron

Posted in belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , on July 1, 2014 by chouck017894

In the priest-written Hebrew Bible, in Exodus (2:4 and 7-8, and in Numbers 26:59) a female character is presented as Moses’ sister who watched over the baby Moses from the bulrushes after he had been cast adrift upon the waters. The infant was launched upon the waters of life, which was depicted as a means of circumventing the pharaoh’s decree that all first born Hebrew/Israelite males were to be slain. We should note here that Miriam is always associated with the waters of life and is honored as a prophet. The timeframe setting of this priest-written Moses/Aaron/Miriam saga is commonly placed c. 1400-1300 BCE. The character Miriam does not play any significant connective role with Moses until chapter fifteen of Exodus following the Israelite’s passage through the Sea of Reeds (not the Red Sea) in which the Pharaoh’s army had been drowned. The text that actually spotlights Miriam to Moses occurs in the scene where she is briefly depicted as singing the first verse of the victory song, known as the Song of the Sea, which is attributed to Moses (Exodus 15:1-18). In celebration of the godly-instigated carnage she sings, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” This praise of imagined divinely induced destruction is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the story.

Miriam remained pretty much in the background in priest-written holy history until the book of Numbers (12) where she and brother Aaron are portrayed as speaking critically of Moses’ leadership. Their legitimate complaints is portrayed as angering Yahweh, and being divinely peevish the Lord then punished Miriam–but not Aaron–by afflicting her with a skin disease (called tzaraat). (Again the priestly belittlement of women.) Tzaraat has been traditionally and erroneously translated as “leprosy”, however the illness most likely referred to skin cancer or leucoderma, i.e. cutaneous eruptions. The appalling priest-composed book of Leviticus says that a person stricken with tzaraat was tamei and such a condition made them unsuitable to perform the duties as high priest, so Aaron could not have been allowed to be equally cursed.

Strangely, neither of Miriam’s miracle-working brothers, try as they may, could conjure up a cure for their sister. As noted, it would not be permissible for the high priest, Aaron, to be equally punished (Miriam allegedly instigated the critical complaining) thus Aaron is cast as ethically pleading with Moses to intercede with Yahweh in Miriam’s behalf. Miriam is then grudgingly allowed by the Lord to return to unblemished form by following the schema he had set in place for Creation processes: her healing thus began by being placed outside the wilderness camp (within the primordial energy conditions) for seven days (as in the “days” of Creation). This rehabilitation follows the prehistory lessons which taught how creative energies involve to take up intended matter form–that being where passive involvement of energy-substance moves through primal energy dimensions of development toward manifestation as matter.

The name Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, can be traced back to ancient cultures to gain some revealing insight to this story. The name evolved outof the Sumerian/Babylonian name Meriam (spelled with an e), and she was imagined as the chief of the “Turbulentos,” which were the personifications of the turbulent, raw, volatile energies (waters) which flood out of Creation’s source. The association with the turbulent “water” of Creation, as interpreted by the eighth century BCE Yahweh priest authors, clarifies the link of Miriam with the Song of the Sea. When Judaism was being shaped into a monotheistic faith system by priest-authors c 9-8th century BCE, the Sumerian/Babylonian Meriam was reworked as Miriam and presented as the older sister of Moses. Thus the entire priest-written Israelite “history” was structured on prehistory lessons which once taught how energy manifest as matter. And that fabricated Israelite history was composed for the purpose of establishing a sense of tribal elitism. And the imagined “history” also happened to provide a fraudulent aura of legitimacy for the priests to claim privilege and power.

In Exodus 26 Miriam is alluded to as the savior of the Israelites because it was due to her righteousness that the Lord sanctioned a miraculous well, which, as the story goes, accompanied the Israelites during their long years of desert wandering (through the primal planes of energy). Miriam is said to have died when the Israelites were in Kadesh, and Numbers 20:1 states that she was buried there. (The exact site of Kadesh has long been a subject of controversy, which seems peculiar if the Creator wanted all the world to honor his chosen ones.) As a personification of Creation’s primal waters, Miriam could not continue into the advanced stage in which energy attains matter-form (nor could Moses or Aaron). It is claimed that the miraculous well which had accompanied the Israelites through the desert wanderings, then disappeared after she died and water then became scarce. Then, like an afterthought, God is said to have opened a spring (energy as matter) for the Israelites in honor of Miriam, and that spring carried the name Meribah. Miriam is also presented in Islam’s Quran (28:11).

Miriam is remembered in the last book of the Old Testament, Micha 6:24, as having been one of the three leaders of the Exodus saga. In Jewish culture during the Passover Seder, a glass filled with water (waters of life), called a “Cup of Miriam,” is sometimes placed in memory beside the customary “Cup of Elijah,” which is filled with wine (the wine of life).

As noted earlier, the name Miram evolved out of the Sumerian/Babylonian accounts of Creation, wherein the turbulent, raw energies out of the Source were referred to and personified as the Turbulentos. In those prehistory accounts the Chief of the Turbulentos was named Meriam. Consquently, Meriam served as the root source of such names as Miriam, Myrian, Martha, Merti, Meri, Mary, and numerous other names. From this also the Hebrew word march evolved, meaning image, vision, appearance, etc., and so it is through Moses’ sister’s name Miriam that we received our word mirror. This is reflected, may we say, in the aim part of the name Mir-iam, for these letters designated the still waters at the margins of Creation’s waters–the waters in which one may see their own reflection—the indisputable means by which every personal consciousness may perceive I AM a reality of Creation.

When Mediterranean Cultures Discovered Judaism

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by chouck017894

After the conquest of the Near East by Alexander the Great, c. 332 BCE, there was a gradual and steady increase of awareness and recognition among the Mediterranean cultures in regard to the Judeans. In this 300 BCE timeframe the Etruscans had submitted to Rome, and the Etruscan influence would contribute significantly to Roman culture in matters of ritual and religion. And it was around 300 BCE, in the Hellenistic period, that foreign observers began to investigate about the laws, traditions and customs of the Jewish people. In this general timeframe the Torah, purportedly giving a continuous narrative of the Creation of the world to the death of Moses, had been canonized (by priest-authors) as God’s official word. Strangely, God never showed up to testify personally, so the priestly verdict was all based on circumstantial necessities for retaining authority.

The Greek skeptic, historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera (4th century BCE) recorded observations of Jewish life in his work Peri Hyperborean. Hecataeus noted with some wonderment the Jewish traditions which in that timeframe lavished their conspiring priests with highest prestige, and he pondered over the tribal laws given in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy which prevailed over Jewish social legislation. Indeed, the Jewish monarchy which had crystallized with King Josiah (died 608? BCE), was the same timeframe in which Deuteronomy had been conveniently discovered—in the walls of the Temple no less. But by this later 300 BCE timeframe, royalty had become completely overshadowed: kingship had given way once again to priestly authority.

Jews, Hecataeus noted, were more fanatically devoted to their God than were most Pagan cultures that he had encountered. That Jewish devotion to an unseen being was more strangling than Pagan spirituality which retained a closer affiliation with Nature in which the Pagan recognized the interlocking energy aspects that were eternally at work. The Pagans respected those creative energy aspects as godlike in their displayed energy attractions. The Jews, on the other hand, long dominated by priest-transmitted commandments, had been conditioned for generations through use of priestly writings from the time of King Josiah and so shared the belief in the God-led “history” as composed by the priests of Yahweh which starred Abram/Abraham as their God-blessed progenitor. According to priestly accounts, God had no interest in regard to the rest of the world.

The priest written “holy” history asserted that from the time of Abram/Abraham a whole string of alleged Israelite ancestors could be claimed by them, all of whom had allegedly spoken directly with God. The history, as presented in Exodus, for example, asserted that God had promised that his “chosen ones” would inherit the land of Canaan–which, inexplicably, was not virgin territory but just happened to have been long inhabited by other people! It was this invented priestly “history” which provided the elements for a shared identity among the Jewish tribespeople in a psychological manner that the mythologies of other cultures could not. Thus conditioned for generations, the Jews shared priest-written law codes attributed to Moses–a whole battery of 613 laws–which, strangely had not been found until the time of young King Josiah (see related post, A Priest’s Convenient Discovery, December 2011). The unity of the Judean people was anchored upon the priest-written holy account and their allusion of their faith’s historic past.

The book of Leviticus was supposedly a testament regarding the Levite people, but that book-heading seemed intentionally deceiving to Hecataeus, for the primary focus remained on claims of priestly authority and offered precious little concerning any actual Levite persons. Foreigners puzzled, therefore, over why Leviticus seemed to have been unceremoniously jammed into the migration narrative between the books of Exodus and Numbers, which interrupted the intriguing story flow with the insertions of ceremonial laws! To foreign investigators such as Hectaeus, it seemed that to be properly explained the priestly code really extended from Genesis through the book of Joshua, which made for a literary whole. Why, then, was Joshua omitted and only the five books, with Leviticus jammed in, promoted as being most holy? Only these five books had been canonized c. 400 BCE (Pentateuch).

Unquestionably, the priests of Yahweh were accomplished story tellers who liberally borrowed inspiration from prehistory astronomy-cosmological lessons which had once taught of Creations’ energies. Those interacting creative energies from the ancient lessons were then personified by the authors as Israelites and presented as having been living historic ancestors. Mesopotamian and Persian religious epics, for example, had offered the same ancient astronomy secrets also, but those creative principles given with those lessons were not presented in a manner which seemed to be directly linked to a certain people’s special history. Neither did the epic sagas of other cultures particularly inspire any principles of moral responsibility or ethics. And the Greek myths of deities and their epics of gods and heroes, as another example, were presented in metaphorical style, which were simply meant to inspire people with a personal sense of purpose, perseverance and strength through larger-than-life examples.

By the second century BCE there had evolved a questioning spirit among the Judean people themselves, which resulted from their association with Syrian and Greek cultures after Syria was conquered by Antiochus III, the Great. Antiochus reigned from 223 to 187 BCE, and he had obtained possession of all of Palestine and Coeli-Syria by 198 BCE. But the excesses of Antiochus’ son, Antiochus IV, eventually triggered what is known as the Maccabean revolt (166 BCE). Antiochus IV had captured Jerusalem and prohibited Judaism; he sought instead to establish the worship of Greek gods. Events would eventually bring Syria (and the Jews) under Roman control (64 BCE). The world was, in this timeframe, at the entrance into the Age of Pisces (c. 60 BCE), which would bring with it the construction of two faith systems that, in their turn, would reinterpret the Jewish formula of faith for their own purpose.

A Short Example of “Biblical Values”

Posted in belief, Bible, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by chouck017894

The Lord got frustrated and angry a lot in the Old Testament.  And rather than just guide his chosen ones through calm psychological counseling, the Lord was often prone to strengthening the enemies of his chosen ones in order to inflict punishment on his darlings.  At least that is often the judgment presented by the priest authors who pretended to chronicle truth of the Lord’s holy mood swings.  Whenever the Yahweh priests lost total control over those subjected to their self-proclaimed god-given authority, and another ethnic group or culture prevailed, a favorite excuse for the Israelite’s defeat was that the Israelites “went awhoring after other gods.”  A typical but lesser known example of this favored excuse is found in the book of Judges, which purports to cover the history of Israel from the time of the settlement in Canaan until just before establishment of the monarchy.  (Related post: Fables From the Book of Judges, August 2010.)

The Old Testament runneth over with blood and guts stories, which seems a peculiar way to express the love and the alleged continual blessing and favoritism of the Lord.  The book of Judges attempted to connect and continue the priestly saga of the violent settlement of Canaan that had begun with the book of Joshua.  But no leader who was comparable to the merciless Joshua had been provided by the Lord after Joshua died, and thus the unity of the tribes weakened, and consequently degenerated into apostasy followed by military defeat to Mesopotamia.  According to the alleged Israelite history by the priest-authors of Judges, Israel’s fall to Mesopotamia was due to a series of desertions from the faith.  So the omniscient Lord determined that the Israelites must therefore be made to endure eight years under Mesopotamian rule, and only then would God raise up a warrior, Othniel, to deliver them.  But then after forty years under Othniel’s supervision the people again “went awhoring after other gods” (a favorite phrase among priest-authors).  And of course God’s favorites wound up defeated c. 1406 BCE by Eglon, king of the Moabites, who had allied with the Ammonites and Amalekites against God’s darlings.

After eighteen years under the harsh thumb of King Eglon, a self-appointed rescuer named Ehud from the tribe of Benjamin decided to redeem his people by assassinating King Eglon.  Ehud, acclaimed as the second of the revered “Judges,” was convinced that getting rid of the tyrant Eglon was his godly calling, and so he fashioned a two-edged dagger about eighteen inches long, hid it in the folds of his cloak, and managed to get into the presence of the obese king Eglon.  Ehud implied to the king that he had a secret errand, so the king allowed Ehud a private meeting in the king’s summer parlor.  According to the priest-authors, deception for some mysterious holy reason is the honored way to serve an omniscient God, so Ehud came close to the king, saying, “I have a message from God unto thee” (Judges 3:20).  As the king bent near, Ehud then drew with his left hand the dagger hidden under his cloak on his right thigh and thrust the long blade into the belly of the corpulent king.

The lethal attack upon the king is lavishly detailed: “And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he (Ehud) could not draw the dagger out of his (Eglon’s) belly; and the dirt came out.”  Slinking away and locking the door to the summer parlor behind him, Ehud managed to depart the crime scene just as palace servants arrived and lingered uneasily outside the parlor door, for they were sore afraid to intrude upon the king’s privacy.  That detailed gory story is presented in a style similar to cloak and dagger entertainment features of today in which the hero (Ehud) answers his highest spiritual calling.  The priest-written story then gets abruptly condensed from verse 27 to 30 with a hasty brush off saying that Ehud raised an army which he led against the implied might of the combined Moabite, Ammonite and Amalekite forces.  The priestly account tersely sums it up that the combat resulted in the slaying of “…ten thousand men, all lusty and all men of valor; and there escape not a man.”  The chapter then concludes with the claim that Israel “…had rest fourscore years” (the typical forty years in such tales).  There is no further narrative; there is only the statement that Ehud “delivered Israel,” the implication being that all the violence, destruction and killing had been with God’s blessing.

If such a premeditated, cold-blooded murder, as is so explicitly detailed of King Eglon’s murder was carried out today in the manner stated would it be so callously brushed aside as it is presented in the circumstances depicted in the book of Judges?  Could any rational person possibly believe that such practiced betrayal and plotted taking of human life could be carried out as a fulfillment of some divine commission?  The Ehud tale obviously is not true spiritual guidance, and should not be accepted as inspirational or motivational.  Unfortunately, there are religious extremists in the United States today who seek to install such bloody “biblical values” as the righteous path for achieving God’s favor for the nation.

Addendum:  There is a peculiarity to this particular “holy” tale, which is that there is a word used in the telling which is not found anywhere else in “holy scriptures.”  That is the word misdaron, which has often been translated as “vestibule” or “porch“–or as in the above version as “parlor.”  But Professor Baruch Halpern (Pennsylvania University), compared palace architecture of the region in this timeframe and found that the word misdaron is most probably in reference to King Eglon’s toilet.  Royal palaces did in fact have indoor toilet facilities in the mid-second millennium BCE.  No wonder the servants would not be eager to disturb the king’s privacy!

This, however, leaves us wondering why Ehud would have been conversing with Eglon when the king was sitting on that throne.  On the other hand, it does explain the  particular detail that “all the dirt came out” when Ehud plunged the knife into the king’s gut.  Plus it is more logical that Ehud could have escaped through the misdaron while the toilet door was still locked and he exited by means of the droppings area below which was flushed out by a royal “plumber.”  Certainly such labor was not open to public view, which would explain Ehud’s easy escape.

This tale in the time of its writing would have been greeted with hilarity, which was probably the point of the priest authors.  And the abrupt denouement with Ehud’s wondrous triumphs simply added a twist of the knife, so to speak.

Myth of the Patriarch Isaac

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by chouck017894

With the character of Isaac, we come to the second person of the Hebrew Scripture’s trinity (Abram/Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel).  The birth of Isaac (Genesis 21) is briefly covered in only eight verses.  He is depicted as having been born when Abraham and Sarah were in advanced years; something of an afterthought fulfillment of God’s promise to grant Abraham posterity.  And, typical of myth, little is recorded of Isaac’s formative years, jumping quickly, as myths always do, to how he was willing to be a sacrifice to Yahweh, but was spared that responsibility by the peculiar appearance of a ram provided by God to substitute as the ritual burnt offering (Genesis 22).  This attempted sacrifice is projected to have been sometime around 1898 BCE.  The story (the Agueda) of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only begotten son Isaac to the Lord has been of prime importance in Judaism, finding in it a reminder of the precariousness surrounding Isaac’s son, Jacob/Israel, having been chosen as progenitor: thus the Jewish New Year ritual commemorates the binding of Isaac.  And Christians accept the story as indicating the form of sacrifice that was expected of Jesus.  Strangely, few of these devout ones are aware of the story’s parallel to the Greek account in which Athamas attempted to sacrifice his son Phrixus to Zeus.  In that older tale, the sacrificial performance was interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Heracles and the miraculous appearance of a ram.  If the ram from that myth is recalled at all it is because it is the ram which had borne the Golden Fleece that in later myth inspired Jason and the Argonauts to undertake the holy quest of acquiring that pelt.  In Roman myth the god Saturn (god of sowing seed) was about to sacrifice his only begotten son to his father Uranus (who presided over primordial conditions), but was furnished a substitute.  In India, Siva, the third god of the Hindu triad, was about to sacrifice his son on a pyre when a rhinoceros was sent as a substitute.  But even older references to a ram caught in a thicket can be traced back to the fourth millennium BCE nation of Sumer where the theme was common in their art.

After Isaac’s dramatic escape from being an altar offering, and Sarah his mother dies to remove her from the plot, things jump quickly to how Isaac acquired his wife, Rebekah (Genesis 24).  Abraham was anxiously insistent that his son’s wife must come from his own people (primary elements), and to accomplish this Abraham’s older servant, Eliezer, was sent back to the city of Nahor where Abraham’s brother, Haran, lived.  Genesis 24:10 says, “And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed…” to go to Nahor in Mesopotamia.  The timeframe in which a bride was sought for Isaac is traditionally placed at c. 1857 BCE.  Isaac then gets shuffled into more of secondary role, with prime attention placed on the servant and Rebekah’s family.

Abraham’s servant Eliezer encounter the lovely Rebekah while she is drawing water from a well.  In all biblical tales that have a well scene, it refers in  some way to the waters of life, and here Rebekah is drawing water to nourish the dimensions of energy-substance necessary for development as defined life forms.  This also explains why in Genesis 26:18 Isaac is portrayed as the well-digger.

Oddly, Rebekah, like Isaac’s mother Sarah, remains “barren.”  For a people so proud of their “begatting” power, this seems strange.  But if the material upon which these “history” tales were constructed are again consulted, the divine mystery is explained: Female characters in these tales always symbolize primordial energy-substance that is not yet activated with the genetic principle of life.   This comes from ancient cosmological lessons which taught of primal energy-substance forming as planets—and biological life does not bud out of these until settled into a defined form.  Thus Rebekah remained barren for twenty years, and Isaac had to pray to God to lift the curse, after which she was soon pregnant with twins.  But the fetuses were so competitive and struggled so with each other that Rebekah yearned for death.  And again  God says to Isaac exactly what he allegedly had said to Abraham (in Genesis 22:18); “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (repeated to Isaac Genesis 26:4).  This is deliberately worded to make it seem that the Israelites, and by extension the Jews, glorify any nation they may inhabit.  History has not supported that idea.  Of the “seed” which is repeatedly stressed, God allegedly said this to Abram, not to Abraham: “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered (Genesis 13:16).  This is cosmic seed that is being blessed, i.e. the earth, which is why it had been stated, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and  to thy seed for ever” (verse 15).  It is, therefore, life which blesses all nations; it is not some land grant to some god-favored part of the human species as seems implied. 

 It is in chapter 26 that Isaac and Rebekah become embroiled in an episode involving “Abimelech king of the Philistines” that is like a distorted echo from the account of Abram’s wife, Sarai, taken into the king’s harem.  Isaac, like Abram, deceives the king, saying his lovely wife is his sister, but after the king discovers the immoral lie, Isaac is then rewarded with land ownership in Gerar!  From these examples from the “good  book” we are supposed to learn moral conduct and ethics?  The common excuse given for this alleged happening is that the use of deception was alright when Israelites were in danger abroad.  Huh?  All actions in the stories of Genesis take place in amoral primordial stages of Creation.

As is common in myth telling, time is surreal, and  Isaac has quickly become a near-blind old man (Genesis 27), and he is deceived by his son Jacob into giving Jacob the blessing of the firstborn that properly belonged to his twin brother Esau.  It is Rebekah that allegedly counseled Jacob into deceiving Isaac, and the reason for this assertion is that Rebekah, as we have seen, personifies the  process of energy-substance attaining materialization.  That process is not accomplished by deception, however,  but through involvement of primal energies.  Blind Isaac, although deceived, foresaw cosmological consequences, saying to Esau, “…and it shall come  to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (verse 40).  There is a secret of Creation processes hidden in Isaac’s words: It is that breaking the devotion to matter is the means of gaining higher potential.  The spiritual value in Isaac’s words rests in recognizing that focusing one’s consciousness on material things is the cause of most of life’s pains, conflicts and “sins.” 

With this, Isaac’s role is fulfilled, but the saga of primal energies forming into mass must advance so they may pass over into defined matter form.  But the time of famine (energies not yet defined), mentioned at the opening of chapter 26, was not yet over.  There it had said, “…there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham…”  It is here that Isaac’s son, Jacob, then moves to center stage.

Assembling Bible Style History

Posted in agnoticism, Astronomy, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on October 3, 2010 by chouck017894

The extraordinary “history” of ancient Israel and Judah that make up the early parts of Hebrew Scriptures was composed by Yahweh priest-authors in the small village of Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE.  The alleged historical saga that recounted Moses and the deliverance from Egyptian slavery up to and through the episodic accounts of the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah cannot be supported by either genuine historical documents from the times or by archeological science.  Indeed, the alleged history  is a product of propaganda that implied godly protection of a small segment of the world population and was intended to inspire caution among the heavily armed neighboring countries of Assyria and Egypt from mounting attacks against Judah.  The composed history also served to inspire a unity among the widely varied people around Jerusalem through the implication that they all shared a common ancestry, the Israelites, whom Moses had allegedly led to the borders of Canaan. 

At the time of the feverish assembling of the early books of scriptural history, the kingdom of Israel to the north of Jerusalem had recently fallen to the Assyrians, and the alarmed priests of Yahweh, the scribes, elders, king and members of his court sought any means to protect their independence.  At their disposal was a rich collection of literary works, considered ancient even then—some of which contained remarkable cosmological and astronomical knowledge that were not completely understood by them, but which were highly admired.  The importance of ancient cosmological and astronomical lore in the 7th century BCE should not be underestimated, because for many generations the heavens had not alway presented a peaceful appearance. (See related post, Threats From Heaven, Sept. 2010.)

Jerusalem, in this 7th century BCE timeframe, was not a bustling city as many imagine: the village sat perched on a narrow ridge that bordered along a steep, rocky ravine.  The hill country around the region was sparsely settled, populated mainly by shepherds and cultivators of small, cleared plots of land.  And add to this scene the pugnacious priests of Yahweh who adamantly insisted that their Temple must remain untarnished from any association with any of the numerous sanctuaries throughout the Near East.  The priests of Yahweh, who controlled more social and judicial power over the people than even the king, would resist any ecumenical willingness to conduct relations with others if it required honoring any potential allies who believed in false deities.  As priestly power became stronger, the numerous rural shrines that had been set up through the region were systematically destroyed under the propaganda that they were the same sources of evil that had caused the fall of the  kingdom of Israel.  This purification of the countryside left only the Jerusalem Temple—which the priests declared was imbued with special holiness—upon which the populace could focus their desire for heavenly attention.

Jerusalem grew with refugees arriving from the occupied kingdom of Israel, and the village in this timeframe expanded to cover approximately 150 acres.  And the political ambitions of the priests and the king flared accordingly.  Their city had become the center of Israelite consciousness.  Through the program of inventing a history of the Israelites, the sudden collapse of the kingdom of Israel was widely seen even by the new citizens to be the result of some direct and purer relationship of Jerusalem with God.  Then and only then did the region take on the mantle of “Holy Land,” and so impressive was the sales pitch that the whole world has been willing to accept the assertion for around three thousand years.  But archeological science has shown that there really were no divine circumstances that led to ancient Jerusalem attaining such star quality.  It simply involved a bit of calculated hype, a bit of rigorous purging of competing faiths, and taking advantage of the insecurity of the refugees and displaced peasants.  This is not said in the spirit of deconstruction, but to point out that claims of supernatural nonsense are not really necessary for acknowledging that something greater than ourselves energizes all that exists.  Like Nature, which is the bearing principle of that power, it is indifferent to what it creates or how it is used.  That is not saleable merchandise for the faith system merchants, and so the farce continues.

Fables From the Book of Judges

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by chouck017894

There is no lack of blood and guts in the Old Testament.  Exodus gives us Godly plagues cast for the benefit of the Israelites, and God mercilessly drowned the pharaoh’s army for daring to pursue God’s alleged favorites.  Leviticus lists twenty-eight alleged God-approved methods for killing any persons who did not knuckle-under to priestly judgement.  Joshua is praised for being the instigator of a grand-scale holocaust extermination of the inhabitants of Canaan.  And the book of Judges is primarily a collection of war stories that focus on Israelite personalities who felt driven to eliminate their neighbors.  The book is commonly defined as containing the “history” of the Israelites during the rule of the Judges.

What is never explained is why God should have neurotic need for mortals’ militant devotion, or why he would feel so much prejudice for everyone in the world except the Israelites.  If he is the omniscient Creator of everything as presented in Genesis, then this claim fails to ring true.  Certainly the assertion provides absolutely no spiritual enlightenment for seekers, for it dwells totally on material acquisitions.  (This may, perhaps, explain why the radical right-wing religionists campaign so shamelessly for a “God-based government” in the US.)

It should be remembered that these bloody biblical stories were written in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE.  In considering the book of Judges as revealed history, a careful reader will ponder over the fact that the time span that is presented is much too long if it is supposed to cover events from instituting the rule of Judges to the anointing of Saul in the mid-eleventh century BCE.  The book of Judges does not coordinate the savior-judges to each other for the simple reason that the book is a collection of stories that circulated about separate tribal heroes.  And there is the typical editorial contrivance of having the traditional twelve starring characters.  The actual featuring of individual “judges” is not taken up until Judges 3:7, and the tales conclude at 16:31; but the alleged bloody events were all said to have been carried out “in the spirit of Yahweh.”

The book of Judges is part of the Deuteronomists collection assembled by priest-authors in 7th century BCE Jerusalem.  The intent, more political than spiritual, was to present a version of heritage for the people of Israel that would inspire and unite the people.  But the stories in Judges cannot be taken as factual history of Canaan in the earlier timeframe of the 12th or 11 centuries BCE.  For one thing, the chronological order can only be described as surreal; if taken at face value the events cover approximately 400 years.  Tradition place the Exodus events in the 13th century BCE; the exploits of the savior-judges, therefore, would have only 200 years to play out all their heroic parts.

The  reason for the distorted time line is to imply that the various tribal myths took place as a continuous history involving persons who arose out of obscurity to perform heroic deeds to save the dream of Israel.  The priestly rewrite of tribal myths never failed to place the blame for Israel suffering under the assaults of oppressors as being the result of the people having repeatedly backsliding in their worship of Yahweh.

Among the traditional twelve Judges of Israel there are listed:  Othniel (Judges 3:7-11), of the Caleb tribe, who supposedly beat back a Mesopotamian foe named Cushanrishathaim;  Ehud (3:12-30), of the Benjamin tribe, who assassinated the Moab king Eglon;  Smamgar (3:31), portrayed as having slain 600 Philistines with an ox goad.  Then there is Yael, the wife of Herber, a Kenite, who is glorified for killing a Canaanite general named Sisera by driving a tent stake through his skull while he slept.  Deborah and Barak shine in Judges 4:1-23, but Barak is said to have killed Jabin, the king of Hazor, which is weird, for it is said in the book of Joshua that Joshua did the bloody deed.  Another judge was Gideon (6:1-8.35), who summoned the Israelites to attack the Midianites and pursued them to the river Jordan.  He was offered a crown for his leadership, but refused, asking only for the many gold earrings captured from the enemy, from which he is said to have fashioned an ephod (for the meaning of ephod see post Sex in Sacred Disguise, March 2009).  Gideon then sacrificed his loving daughter in appreciation of victory over the Ammonites (11:34-40).  And we must not forget Samson (13:1-16.31), and the hair-raising story of his killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of and ass.

Samson is something of a misfit as a “judge” for he is not portrayed in any leadership action against enemies of the Israelites; his are personal battles with the Philistines.  His inclusion in the book of Judges is based solely on his alleged bringing down the Philistine temple, thus implying the superiority of the god Yahweh.  Samson is the Hebrew version of the Greek Heracles (Hercules), mixed with Apollo.  The name means “man of the Sun,” so what we are offered is really an allegory of the sun’s power.  That it is myth, not history, is also revealed in the style of story development.  All Pagan and scriptural myths depict only briefly a demigod’s or hero’s birth.  As are some other biblical heroes, Samson’s mother had been barren, but an angel of the Lord told her that she would bear a son, and then the story leaps to his adult life.   The secret of Samson’s strength was in his hair; in other words, the sun’s rays.  It is a Hebrew myth mimicking of the Apollo myth, the Greek sun god, of whom Homer said, “…he of unshorn hair.”  The Philistine vixen, Delilah, is said to have discovered the secret of Samson’s strength, and while he slept she cut off his “seven locks” of hair.  Embedded in the name of the villainess is the Hebrew word lilah, which means “darkness” or “night.”  Prefacing lilah with D, the Hebrew daleth, which means “door,” indicated that De-lilah personified darkness, which in all mythological tales always symbolized the underworld. 

The Deuteronomists examples of God’s alleged favoritism of the Hebrew/Israelites continue in the books of Samuel, the alleged king-maker.