Enki robbed of the strategically crucial MEs by Jehovah’s granddaughter
Before Inanna-Ishtar, Jehovah’s self-willed granddaughter, set off to attend her late husband Dumuzi’s funeral at Nergal’s palace in today’s South Africa, she had told her handmaiden, who had remained behind in her Sumerian cult city Uruk, and her foreign affairs secretary Ninshubur that in the event that she was not heard from within three days, they should raise an alarm. This was because she was not absolutely sure of her safety when she faced her elder sister Ereshkigal, who was the funeral ceremony’s hostess and who had insisted Inanna not show up at all.
Thus early on the third day of Inanna’s disappearance, her handmaiden contacted Ninshubur, who was still camped outside Nergal’s palace along with the rest of Inanna’s entourage, all of whom had been prevented from setting foot onto the palace courts by Ereshkigal. Ninshubur immediately messaged Nergal’s son, requesting him to establish whether Inanna was among the gathering in the palace hall. The young man had not seen her aunt and so he sent word to his father, who in turn alerted Enlil.
Having confirmed that Inanna had indeed arrived for the funeral two days ago but was nowhere on the palace premises, Enlil was alarmed: he had a hunch something sinister had befallen his granddaughter and the obvious suspect was Ereshkigal. Without wasting time, Enlil assigned Enki to urgently look into the matter. The choice of Enki was suiting: not only was he Inanna’s grandfather too on her mother’s side Ningal but Enki could be counted upon to restore Inanna to life if she had succumbed to foul play at the hands of Ereshkigal particularly that she would not have been dead for more than three days.
Enki took Ereshkigal aside and demanded that she owns up as to what she had done to Inanna as it was crystal-clear she was the one behind her disappearance. Ereshkigal, who was at once Enki’s granddaughter, daughter-in-law, and the mother of his son Ningishzidda (that’s how incestuous the Anunnaki were), did not equivocate: breaking down into copious tears, she recounted all that had transpired and even provided the coordinates of the exact spot Inanna had been left to die.
Enki went to work straightaway. It was summer time in South Africa and the chalky-white-skinned Anunnaki, like Enki was, just could not venture out in the blazing sun being rather susceptible to the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. So drawing on his genius, Enki fashioned two androids from clay in a matter of hours, who he named Kurgarra and Galatur, electronically animated them, and detailed his dark-skinned Anunnaki pilots to take them to where Inanna was. Meanwhile, he was monitoring the situation using a facility similar to video-conferencing in the air-conditioned ambience of Nergal’s palace.
Enki had equipped the two medical androids with an “Emitter” and “Pulser” respectively. The metaphor for the reanimation substances the androids carried was “Food of Life” and “Water of Life” respectively. Arriving at the scene of Inanna’s ordeal, the search party found an already dead Inanna still strapped to the tree. There was no time to waste. Enki immediately activated the androids by remote control. “Upon the corpse a Pulser and Emitter they (the androids) directed,” the Sumerian records relate. “Then the Water of Life on her they sprinkled, in her mouth the Plant of Life they placed.” The measures taken worked like a charm. “Inanna stirred, her eyes she opened: from the dead Inanna arose.”
INANNA IMMORTALISES DUMUZI IN SEX RITUAL
Within a week’s time, Inanna had been nursed back to full health by Enki. Now bursting with vitality and strutting her stuff as usual, she demanded, first, that her regal regalia be returned to her by Ereshkigal. Then she asked for Dumuzi’s body, which she took with her back to Nubia, where he had ruled. There, she had the body “washed with pure water and anointed with sweet oil”. She then clothed the body with a shroud and laid it on a lapis lazuli slab. That done, she placed the body into a tomb carved out of a specially preserved rock formation in the centre of the city. The body was to remain there till Nibiru was back in the ecliptic, whereupon she would accompany it to the planet for the very last rites.
Yet Inanna remained haunted by the death of her Romeo for the rest of her life. She always dreamt about Dumuzi and even had broad-daylight hallucinations of him. In a vain attempt at consigning him to total oblivion, she introduced, in her cult city of Uruk, what became known as the “Sacred Marriage Rite”. At her ziggurat temple-house, the Eanna, there was a standalone structure known as the Giparu (“Night Time Abode”) and in a wing of the Giparu was a sex den known as the Gigunu (“Chamber of Night Time Pleasures”).
It was in the Gigunu that Nibiru king Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, made love to her every time he came to Earth. Even more significant, it was in the Gigunu that she and Dumuzi had their first one-night-stand and where their first sexual act after the wedding ceremony took place. Thus the Gigunu, rather than make her forget about Dumuzi, in fact achieved the contrary purpose – to reinforce his memory.
Now, the Sacred Marriage was far from a marriage: it was purely for recreational, one-night-stand sex romp. Initially, this took place once every year on the anniversary of Dumuzi’s death, when an aristocratic demigod was invited by Inanna to “sample” her in the Gigunu. In due course, the rite had a spin-off, whereby an Anunnaki groom was invited to “taste” her on the night of his wedding day before he consummated his marriage with his own bride.
“To this Gigunu, young heroes (Anunnaki), on the night of their weddings, with sweet words she lured,” say the Sumerian chronicles. “Long life, a blissful future to them she promised.” All the while, Inanna imagined she was being mounted by her beloved Dumuzi. Sadly, almost every such man who slept with her in the Gigunu died of what is called “cardiogenic shock” arising from too much “sexual sweetness” (even in our day, such deaths account for approximately 0.6 percent of all sudden deaths).
KINGS FEATURE IN SACRED MARRIAGE RITE
The sexual fatalities so scared the daylights out of wedding grooms that they ceased and desisted from responding to Inanna’s Gigunu overtures, as a result of which she now turned to priest-kings of Uruk with a twist in terms of the bait dangled forth. To the priest-kings, it was not simply about sex only: rather, it was more about eliciting her blessings as the superintending goddess once every year. This new dimension of the Sacred Marriage Rite which involved priest-kings became part of the yearly, 12-day long Akiti (“On Earth Bring Life”) festival. Zechariah Sitchin describes the ritual in some detail as follows:
“Inanna began to invite the king to her Gigunu … The essence of the procedure was to find a way to have the king spend the night with the goddess without ending up dead … The outcome depended not only the king's personal fate, but also the fate of the land and its people—prosperity and abundance or the lack of them in the coming year. For the first four days of the festival, the gods (Anunnaki) alone participated in the re-enactments (of the death of Dumuzi and his replacement by a new ruler). On the fifth day the king came on the scene, leading the elders and other dignitaries in a procession through a special Way of Ishtar…
“Arriving at the main temple, the king was met by the High Priest, who took away the king's insignia and placed them before the deity (Inanna) in the Holy of Holies (symbolic dethronement of Dumuzi). Then, returning to the dethroned king, the High Priest struck him in the face and made him kneel down for a ceremony of Atonement in which the king had to recite a list of sins (particularly the killing of Dumuzi) and seek divine forgiveness.
Priests then led the king out of town to a pit of symbolic death; the king stayed there imprisoned while above the gods debated his Destiny. On the ninth day he re-emerged, was given back his insignia and royal robes, and led back the procession to the city. There, at evening time, washed and scented, he was led to the Giparu in the sacred precinct.
“At the entrance to the Gigunu he was met by Inanna's personal attendant, who made the following appeal to the goddess in behalf of the king: ‘The sun has gone to sleep, the day has passed. As in bed you gaze upon him, as you caress him, give Life unto the King … May the king whom you have called to heart enjoy long days at your holy lap … Give him a reign favourable and glorious. Grant his throne an enduring foundation … May the farmer make the fields productive.
May the shepherd multiply the sheepfolds … In the palace let there be long life.’ The king was then left alone with the goddess in the Gigunu for the conjugal encounter. It lasted the whole night. In the morning the king emerged, for all to see that he had survived the night (that is, had not died from sexual sweetness . The Sacred Marriage had taken place; the king could reign on for another year; the land and people were granted prosperity.”
Inanna so popularised the spirit of the Sacred Marriage Rite that long after the advent of Dumuzi, Sumerian kings described poetically the ecstasy of such memorable nights with her. The “death and resurrection” of Dumuzi itself continued to be commemorated by the Jews once yearly on what was designated “The Day of National Mourning”, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing. For example, the prophet Ezekiel (EZEKIEL 8:14) was wroth when he saw Israelites “weeping for Tammuz,” the Hebrew rendering of the name Dumuzi, which is Thomas in English.
ENKI DENIES INANNA THE CRUCIAL “MEs”
Following the death of Dumuzi, Inanna decided to turn Uruk (Erech in the Bible) into a city along the lines of the glittering Kish, which was the Paris of Sumeria. She just wasn’t patient enough to await the appropriate time for her allocation of an own domain which had been promised her at the conclusion of the Second Pyramid war at the say-so of King Anu of Nibiru. It was the same King Anu who gifted her Uruk as her cult city as part of the dowry that automatically entitled him to conjugal rights every time he visited Earth and every time she visited Nibiru, which she did periodically.
The person she chose to transform the city was Enmerkar, officially the grandson of her twin-brother Utu-Shamash. Enmerkar was the son of Meskiaggasher, or Meshack in short. Born to Shamash by an Earthling concubine, Meshack was the first priest-king of Uruk, which he ruled for 324 years before handing over to Enmerkar. But Enmerkar, apparently, was no more than a legal son of Meshack as Enmerkar made a point of trumpeting the fact that he was actually a demigod, his real father being Shamash, very much an echo of Marduk’s double-entendre relationship with Osiris, who was at once his son (biologically) and grandson (legally). Enmerkar would rule Uruk under the auspices of “goddess” Inanna for 420 years, nearly a 100 years more than his father did not least because he was a maniac in bed – exactly the type that appealed to the nymphomaniacal Inanna.
When kingship (for humans under the aegis of Anunnaki “gods”) was transferred from Kish to Uruk circa 3000 BC in accordance with the rotational setup decreed by Enlil, Inanna detailed Enmerkar to turn Uruk from a mere sacred precinct to a thriving metropolis that should rival Kish in every respect. Enmerkar’s first major statement in this brief was to refurbish and enlarge the Eanna, erect a 6-mile long wall around it, and pave the entire city with “limestone blocks from 50 miles to the east”. True to the spirit of his name, which conveyed the meaning of being “diligent”, Enmerkar would ultimately carve himself lasting renown as “The Man Who Built Uruk”.
At this incipient stage, however, Enmerkar, who for some reason called himself “Sumeria’s Junior Enlil”, could only go so far. To turn Uruk into the Utopia Inanna envisaged, he needed certain enablers in the form of transformational codes known as the MEs. Indeed, it was with only 50 MEs that Ninurta had turned Kish into the full-fledged centre of urban civilisation it was. Exactly what were the MEs?
The MEs have been described as “physical objects that one could pick up and carry, or even put on, and which contained secret knowledge or data. Perhaps they were something like our present-day computer chips, on which data, programs, and operational orders were minutely recorded. On them the essentials of civilisation were encoded”; as “portable objects which held all the knowledge and other aspects of a high civilisation … In the current state of modern technology, one can envision them as some kind of computer disks or memory chips which, in spite of their minute size, hold vast amounts of information.
In a few decades, with more advanced technology, one might compare them to some other marvelous store of information (yet to be invented)”; and as “a kind of computer or data disks— which held the information needed for the sciences, the handicrafts, and the arts. Numbering more than a hundred, they included such diverse subjects as writing, music, metalworking, construction, transportation, anatomy, medical treatments, flood control, and urban decay; also, as other lists make clear, astronomy, mathematics, and the calendar.”
The problem, however, was that the MEs were held by Enki, their inventor and custodian as the Anunnaki’s god of knowledge, who released them at the appropriate time to any Anunnaki god in charge of a city-state or an entire domain and for the benefit not of the god himself but of humans in his charge. Thus when Inanna approached Enki and begged for some of the MEs, he politely turned her down in that her aim, he discerned, was not to improve the quality of life of mankind – his creation – but to stroke her own outsized ego primarily. Enki feared that if Inanna was availed the MEs, her sense of self-worth and delusions of grandeur would be such that she might go on a land-grabbing rampage like the pinheaded daredevil she was.
As things turned out by and by, Enki read her correctly. Be that as it may, Inanna simply was not the one to yield sedately to any sanction or obstacle thrown her way. She vowed to Enmerkar, as she busily gave him a blow-job and greedily gulped on his jizz, that she would get the MEs by hook or crook. Exactly what did she mean?
ENKI COAXED INTO PARTING WITH 100 MEs
As everybody else, Inanna was all too aware that Enki had quite a weakness with the opposite sex that mirrored her own. It is this weakness that she sought to exploit and land herself a few “divine formulas” as the MEs were otherwise known. Enki was aging and having lost much of his sex appeal of yesteryears – though still a stud under the sheets – he was even all the more toast and was liable to go to every length to bed a delectable beauty like Inanna.
Having received word that Inanna was on her way over to see him over some crucial matter about which she didn’t go into details, Enki was ecstatic. He instructed his chief steward Isimud to “sweet wine prepare, the beer vessels to the rim fill up!” Arriving at Enki’s seaside villa in her “sky chamber” on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Inanna was dressed literally to kill. She wore not conventional clothing but a negligee – a see-through bed time gown that left nothing to the imagination. “With jewelry was Inanna bedecked, by her thin dress her body she revealed,” Enki himself relates.
Enki straightaway ushered her into his exquisite bed chamber which doubled as his study and was the repository of a whole range of classified and confidential subject matters. Inanna wasted no time in working her bitch-ish charms on the already salivating randy Casanova by indulging in all sorts of seductive antics. “When she bent down, her vulva by Enki was thoroughly admired,” the Sumerian texts relate. Soon the duo were flirting, feasting, and carousing. “From the wine cups sweet wine they drank, for beer drinking a competition they had.” Before long, they were making whoopee on Enki’s King-sized bed. “Enki would thrill her with advanced sexual practices and she would show him a thing or two as well,” the Sumerian records voyeuristically inform us.
The combined effects of the alcohol and the repeated rounds of exceedingly sweet rumpy pumpy robbed Enki of his sense of scruple, whereupon Inanna, who had been drinking only sparingly so as not to unduly compromise her mission, popped the request. But she was not rash: she made her ME entreaties step by step, about seven times altogether, and each time Enki readily obliged her. By the time the clock struck midnight, Enki had parted with 7 monarchical MEs and 94 dealing with matters of economic, scientific, military and technological advancement. Having attained the object of her mission, Inanna tip-toed out of Enki’s bed chamber as he lay drained of all energy in a manner reminiscent of a deflated tyre, made her way to the parked flying saucer, and jetted off to Uruk at breakneck speed in a fever of yipping and hooraying excitement.
Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph
To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua (Jesus in Greek) III.
Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC. He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.
Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.
Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.
Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary. Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.
Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans. Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.
JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”
Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.
The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches. Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.
The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee. In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.
According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.
At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.
According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).
The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.
Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.
Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.
A BINDING ENGAGEMENT
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.
Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.
Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan. This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June. From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.
Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.
For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”. In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.
Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.
That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.
The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.
Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah. There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.
The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.
They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.” The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.
This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.
The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.
Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:
In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.
When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.
When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.
The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.
Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.
I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.
The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.
The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.
Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.
There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.
In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.
In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!
How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod
If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees. Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.
Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.
In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy. The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.
The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.
Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees. The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.
How did the Essene movement come about, General? The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran, about 40 km from Jerusalem.
Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.
The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue … Since [they are] despisers of wealth – their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”
In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of Palestine in 63 BC, he sought the opinion of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In 142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic King.
In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.
JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD
About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.
He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem. The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.
It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the Diaspora Essenes.
He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.
Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.
When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.
His father, Antipater, had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a mere figurehead king. When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee. Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.
As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.
There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.
The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.
Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.
When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.
FALLOUT WITH ESSENES
Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.
In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known. Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.
In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.
The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.
THE SAGA OF JOSEPH
The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.
The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.
To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.
In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule. Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.
Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.
In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.