Uruk king fails to get Aratta king to cower as Jehovah’s granddaughter juggles the two as sex pets
Enmerkar, the King of Inanna-Ishtar’s cult city of Uruk in Sumer, was desperate to bring the mineral-rich Kingdom of Aratta, over which Inanna had jurisdiction too, under subjection to Uruk. He vowed he would stop at nothing until this end was accomplished, his reasoning rightly or wrongly being that without him, Inanna wouldn’t be the great queen she now was – straddling two of the world’s pre-eminent regions.
“The wealth of Aratta he coveted, to be over Aratta supreme he schemed,” the Sumerian records so plainly expose him. It was not enough that Aratta had consented to paying tribute to Uruk in the form of precious stones and had made good on its undertaking: Enmerkar wanted Aratta to be a vassal state of Uruk, finito.
Thus it was that Enmerkar sent an emissary to Aratta to deliver a haughty ultimatum in which he threatened to “bring desolation upon Aratta and dispersion upon its people”. His message in a nutshell was, “submit or else …” Enmerkar strategically picked a time when Aratta was at its most vulnerable. The kingdom was reeling from a telling drought that had destroyed its crop and so was dependent on the granaries of Sumer for the sustenance of its people. If the king turned out to be stubborn, Enmerkar would pull the plug on the supply of grain and the people of Aratta so hard done by might picket him, thereby providing Inanna an excuse to depose him. In truth, the likelihood of such a scenario was a tall order given the hots Inanna had for the King of Aratta but a naive Enmerkar counted on it anyway.
Receiving the message, the King of Aratta, a very wily political operator if there was one, decided to engage Enmerkar in what the great Sumerologist Samuel N Kramer calls “the first war of nerves”. In this post-Tower of Babel era, the world no longer spoke a uniform language but several, most of which wholly unrelated to each other courtesy of Enlil’s divide and rule globalwide gambit. Taking advantage of this state of affairs, the King of Aratta replied that with due respect, he didn’t understand a single word of the message he received in the now ancient Sumerian language. “Like the bray of a donkey its sound is,” he regretted, appealing to his opposite number to send a fresh message in the language of Aratta, which Enki had devised at the instruction of Enlil.
Enmerkar was furious as he knew the King of Aratta was playing mind games with him. He there and then decided to suspend grain supplies to Aratta so as to teach his counterpart a lesson and with the hope that thus floored, the King of Aratta would come to him running, with cap in hand, and declare himself ready now to kowtow to Uruk. Enmerkar, it turned out, had miscalculated: a year passed and the King of Aratta was a no-show.
KING OF ARATTA DEFIES ENMERKAR
Even with this virtual egg on his face, Enmerkar was simply not giving up on Aratta. Since the stakes were so high, he considered that it was better to play along to the tune the King of Aratta was singing than throw in the sponge. Calling upon Ninsaba, Enki’s daughter with Ninmah who was the Anunnaki’s Goddess of Writing and who was well-versed in practically every language, he bid her to draft on his behalf a message to the King of Aratta in the latter’s own language.
This time around, the message was even blunter. “Submission or war,” it said. The ultimatum, however, was tempered with something of a sweetener – the offer of seeds from Aratta’s grain tribute of yesteryears which had been kept in the Eanna granaries and which might considerably help in ameliorating the famine that now plagued Aratta. And this time around, the emissary was no less than Enmerkar’s own son Lugalbanda. It turned out Enmerkar had underestimated the cunning of Inanna, who didn’t care a damn about Aratta being under Uruk suzerainty.
Significantly, Inanna didn’t wish to alienate the King of Aratta, her highly prized bedfellow who delivered with distinction when she wanted to be sexually serviced whilst visiting there. So what does she do? Using what we today call HAARP technology, she artificially induces torrential rains in Aratta even whilst Lugalbanda is on his way there with a view to bolster up its king’s bargaining power versus Enmerkar. “A storm, like a great lion attacking, stepped up,” the Sumerian records relate. “Drought was suddenly broken by a thunderstorm that made the whole land tremble, the mountains quake. And once again, white-walled Aratta became a land of abundant grains.”
Thus emboldened, the King of Aratta once again thumbed his nose at Enmerkar, underlining to Lugalbanda that he was not going to be tossed around at Enmerkar’s whim and that Her Imperial Majesty Queen Inanna the Goddess of Aratta was solidly behind him. “Inanna Mistress of Lands has not abandoned her house in Aratta, has not handed over Aratta to Unug-Ki (Uruk),” the king asserted in full flow, brimming with confidence. “Aratta will not submit.”
The defiant king went on to say that if push came to shove, he was ready to go to war with Uruk. He also made it clear that from now henceforth, he would no longer pay tribute to Uruk by way of precious stones unless Enmerkar was prepared to share Uruk MEs with Aratta. And as if to poke fun at Enmerkar, the King of Aratta even donated part of the strategic grain reserves he had hoarded to Uruk to underscore the fact that with abundant rain now, Aratta would no longer require food aid crumbs from Uruk.
It was a deadlock: in the final analysis, neither king was prepared to concede to the other’s terms and Enmerkar for one was not ballsy enough to go beyond sabre rattling and follow through on his threat of waging war on Aratta. “The riches of Aratta Unug-ki did not receive; the MEs of Unug-ki Aratta did not obtain,” the Sumerian records inform us. On balance though, it was Aratta which bore the brunt in the fullness of time. “In the Third Region, civilised mankind did not fully blossom,” the Sumerian texts lament as indeed the Uruk MEs, which were crucial to expediting the economic and technological headway of the Indus Valley, were not availed to Aratta.
GODDESS WHO REVELLED IN NUDITY
In time, Inanna became the most famous god throughout the Indus Valley. Although she was dubbed the Goddess of War, it was as the Goddess of Love (love-making and not the usual spiritual love) she was best known as. In paintings and clay figurines of the Indus civilisation era, she is variously depicted as a warrior armed to the teeth; an astronaut fully kitted in aviational gear; and a stark naked, bare breasted woman with rows of beads and necklaces. But it was her sexuality that struck the greatest chord with her subjects as it were depictions which project her as such that abounded in the Indus Valley. Some such depictions show her raising the hemline of her skirt to reveal her shapely thighs and her prominent, clean shaven punami.
The Persians (of Iran) and Pushtans (of Afghanistan) called her Abesind and Abasind respectively (very much an echo of her other Sumerian name Absin, meaning “whose father is Sin”). To the Greeks and Romans, she was known, amongst a clutch of other names, as Indos and Indus respectively, which was just as apt. It’s Inanna after whom the Indus River is named and since the name India derives from the Indus River, the country itself too is derivatively named after Inanna. In Aratta, Inanna was known as Indra.
INANNA’S SUBJECT KINGS
Let us at this juncture try to recap on the saga of Uruk, Inanna’s principal cult city as part of the dot.connection process so that we do not lose our bearings as we match on down the Earth Chronicles lane, which is now just over 100 articles strong with a total of just under 455,000 words, equivalent to about 7 fair-sized books. When in 3800 BC civilisation was proclaimed for Sumer, the so-called First Region, by King Anu at the insistence of Enki, a new political perch for Earthlings was instituted, the first time this happened since the Flood of Noah’s day.
This was kingship. The human king would rule his fellow humans not on his behalf but on behalf of a superintending god. The first Sumerian city designated as the seat of kingship was Kish, then the cult city of Ninurta, Jehovah-Enlil’s firstborn son. Forty years later, Enlil announced that kingship would not only be the privilege of Kish but would rotate from city-state to city-state at a time of his choosing. Thus it was that circa 3750 BC, kingship was transferred to Uruk with a view to placate Inanna, who was making petulant noises in relation to what she regarded as intentional foot-dragging on the part of Enlil to allocate her her own domain as per the promise to her by King Anu.
Now, Uruk was famed for one particular specialty – metal casting, notably of alloys of tin. The best tin metallurgists on the planet were to be found in Uruk. Even the Eanna, Inanna’s magnificent temple-house, was structurally made of alloyed tin. Indeed, Eanna, which is typically interpreted as “House of Anu”, can also alternatively be read as “House of Tin”. Anna was the Anunnaki term for tin and the Anunnaki placed a value on tin that rivalled that of gold and silver (the demigod Sargon the Great of Akkad valued the metal so much that he chose it rather than gold or silver for commemorating himself).
Before Uruk attained kingdom status, its day-to-day affairs were conducted by a high priest. This high priest was a demigod, a son of Utu-Shamash, Inanna’s twin-brother, with an Earthling woman. His name was Meskiaggasher, or Meshack in short. Mes/Mesh was the Sumerian prefix or suffix for “Master Metallurgist” “or “Master Craftsman”, the Masonic title of a dynastic king those days and up to New Testament times. Since at that juncture all kings were demigods – part-human, part-Anunnaki – Mes/Mesh became synonymous with royalty. By the same token, the Egyptian word Mes or Mses, meaning “issue of” (e.g. Thothmes), conveyed the same meaning in its original sense in that the Pharaohs were demigods or claimed to be demigods.
With kingship having been transferred from Kish to Uruk, Meshack was installed as King of Uruk. He ruled for 324 years before he was succeeded by his son Enmerkar, who in truth was Shamash’s biological son courtesy of the Anunnaki’s overly lax sex morals whereby one could sleep with any consenting woman: it didn’t matter whether she was a close relation such as a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, an aunt, or a daughter-in-law and it didn’t matter that she was married.
Enmerkar was on the throne for 420 years. Under him, Uruk prospered as never before, earning him the tribute of “The Man Who Built Uruk” which resounded for centuries thereafter. It was during Enmerkar’s reign that the Eanna was transformed from a no more than gleaming edifice to a sparkling structure bedecked with all kinds of precious stones extorted from mineral-rich Aratta in the Indus Valley.
After Enmerkar came his son Lugalbanda. Lugalbanda had the prestige of marrying the goddess Ninsun whilst he was high priest, his status before he ascended to the throne. As King, he ruled for 1200 years, the longest reigning demigod in the post-diluvial age. The mixed couple sired 11 children, the most famous of whom is Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was King of Uruk for between 126 and 150 years and was succeeded by his son Ur-Lugal, who in turn was succeeded by his son Utu-Kalamma. Altogether, 12 kings reigned in Uruk for a combined total of 2310 years. Thereafter, kingship moved to Ur, the cult city of Inanna’s father Nannar-Sin.
SHORT MAN WITH A TALL PEDIGREE
The post-diluvial age saw a rather curious switch in the Anunnaki’s relations with Earthlings in one particular respect. Before the Flood, it were Anunnaki men, “the sons of the gods”, who pursued Earthling women, “the daughters of men”. After the Flood, the status quo changed full circle: it were royal Anunnaki women, the goddesses, who sought spouses among Earthling men, particularly demigods.
We already know that Inanna was crazy about Earthling men though none of them was prepared to take her to the altar due to her eccentricities that knew no bounds. But there was one decent goddess who had an enduring and fruitful marriage with an Earthling. This was Ninsun, Enki’s daughter with Ninmah and therefore a brother to Ninurta, who Ninmah had way back in Sirius with Enlil. Ninsun made overtures to Lugalbanda and before long the two lovebirds had tied the knot. His intrinsic qualities aside, Lugalbanda’s fundamental qualification for marrying a goddess was that he himself was the son of a goddess, Inanna, and so was at least 50 percent Anunnaki.
The fact that he was half-Anunnaki automatically merited him the title “Divine Lugalbanda”, or Dingir.Lugalbanda in Sumerian. The Anunnaki had relaxed aspects of their social-status code after the Flood and one such revised convention was that any Earthling who had at least half of Anunnaki royal blood in him qualified to be called divine. When Lugalbanda succeeded to the throne after Enmerkar, he adopted the title Lugal, meaning “Great Man”. Now, every king is a great man in that he is the highest ranking personage in his domain.
In Lugalbanda’s case, the Lugal emphasis had to do with his being plagued by what is known as Short Man Syndrome. Lugalbanda was unfortunate enough to take after the slight physical stature of his mother Inanna, who was about 5-foot-5 – a midget in Anunnaki terms. His name when correctly spelt is actually Handa, not Banda. Handa meant “Shorty”. The name Lugalbanda therefore was meant to emphasise the point that he might be a small man but as a demigod he was of greater genetic pedigree and as a King he was the greatest man amongst Earthlings.
When Inanna was awarded the Indus Valley, she wanted Lugalbanda, then her high priest, to rule Aratta. Lugalbanda, however, was not keen on the idea. He was by nature an adventurer: he lived a peripatetic life and therefore was always away on expeditions to indulge his wanderlust. It was after she was snubbed by Lugalbanda that Inanna settled for Dumuzi’s unnamed extramarital son as King of Aratta.
INANNA SHAGS HER OWN SON!
Following Enmerkar’s earlier stalemate with the King of Aratta, he decided to send Lugalbanda over to take a strong line with the king with a view to get him to yield to the demand for unconditional subjection to Uruk. As related above, the mission was a total fiasco. Resultantly, Lugalbanda was gutted, for as far as he was concerned, it was he who had failed, a shame for a heir. On his return journey therefore, Lugalbanda dispensed with aerial transportation, choosing instead to travel overland by chariot, both to delay to the fullest extent possible a very likely stormy encounter with his father and to explore the wonders of nature being a naturalist himself. In the course of these peregrinations, he not only fell acutely ill but fell into a coma too.
Upon hearing of her son’s plight, Inanna enlisted her brother Shamash and together they rushed to the Kurdistan wilds in modern-day Iran by flying saucer, equipped with state-of-the-art medical paraphernalia. Touching down at the scene of Lugalbanda’s afflictions, Shamash went to work forthwith. He employed on the half-dead Lugalbanda “stones that emit light” and “stones that make strong”, whereupon Lugalbanda stirred back to full vitality. The moment this happened, Inanna staged a mental breakdown.
Remember, Inanna had, as a matter of public knowledge, always been haunted by the memory of her long-deceased husband Dumuzi. “Dumuzi she still mourned,” the Sumerian records emphasise. “When she flew about, in the sun’s rays, Dumuzi’s image she saw shimmering and beckoning.” So when Lugalbanda was dramatically revived, Inanna cried out with feigned derangement that, “A miracle has happened! My beloved Dumuzi to me has come back!” Returning to the Eanna with a fighting fit Dumuzi, she commandeered him to her own bedroom, which she specially decorated for him in the pretended belief that he was the resurrected Dumuzi.
The inevitable followed – an all-night-long bang-bang-bang by her own son who though short had a large appendage – the thing that mattered the most to the size queen that was Inanna! Clearly, she had always had a crush on him and was just waiting for the opportune time to pounce. Of course there was nothing Lugalbanda’s wife Ninsun could do about this boldfaced adultery: an Anunnaki had the right to sleep with anybody for as long as there was mutual consent.
From that point on, Lugalbanda was toast for her own mother: she would call upon him every time she had the itch, which meant more often than not being the nympho she was. Also from that point on, Inanna had a new but bogus boast – that she had powers of life and death having brought back Lugalbanda from the dead. She was, so she bragged, a Goddess proper and not simply an Anunnaki Queen.
It was all a hollow boast really since Lugalbanda had not died but was simply comatose and the person who medically worked on him was not she herself but her brother Shamash. But in those days when the Earthling masses were more susceptible to mis-information and disinformation than we are in this age of the newspaper, the radio, the television, and the Internet, Inanna’s boast was taken as gospel truth by her subjects from Uruk all the way to the Indus Valley.
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.